The Messiah in Moses and the Prophets by Lord, Eleazar
THE MESSIAH IN MOSES AND THE PROPHETS.
BY ELEAZAR LORD.
NEW-YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER, 145 NASSAU STREET. 1853.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New-York.
TO THE DESCENDANTS OF ISRAEL.
From the earliest periods a belief has prevailed among Jews and Gentiles, that in one mode or another the Supreme Being has appeared visibly on earth. In the Eastern World, Divine incarnations are taught in the Brahminical and other systems.
For the origin of such a belief we must undoubtedly recur to the Divine appearances recorded in Moses and the prophets. Such visible appearances and the doctrine of the incarnation are taught in the Hebrew as well as in the Christian Scriptures.
It is the object of the ensuing pages to show that He who truly became incarnate, and is announced as Jesus, the Christ, and also as Jehovah, Immanuel, _God with us_, is the same who in the Hebrew oracles is often called Jehovah and Elohim, and designated also by official titles, as the Messiah, the Messenger, Adonai, the Elohe of Abraham; and that, under various designations, he appeared visibly in a form like that of man to the Patriarchs, and to Moses, and others. In Him, in accordance with their Scriptures, the descendants of Israel will at length discern the True Messiah, who took man's nature, and in his stead, and as his substitute, was slain a sacrifice for sin, the Just for the unjust; who rose from the dead, and ascended on high in his glorified body; and who will come again, visibly, to sit and rule as King on the throne of David; to destroy the great Adversary and his works; to vindicate his earlier administration; to accomplish the ancient predictions concerning the SEED of Abraham, the land promised as an everlasting inheritance, and his own sacerdotal, prophetic, and regal offices; and to receive due homage of the universe as Creator, Ruler, and Redeemer.
Of him as Jehovah and as the Messenger, it is affirmed that he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. (See Exodus ii. and Judges i.) And, after the lapse of nine hundred years, He himself proclaimed to their dispersed and afflicted descendants: "Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that it shall no more be said, Jehovah liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, Jehovah liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into _their land that I gave_ _unto their fathers_. For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face:--and they shall know that my name is Jehovah." Jer. xvi. 14, 15, 17, 21.
Reasons for examining the Hebrew Records of the Messiah.
The Messiah announced by Malachi, as Adonai, even Melach, the Messenger of the Covenant--His appearance to Jacob at Bethel; and to Isaiah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and others, under various designations, as Adonai, Melach, a Man, Jehovah Zebaoth, the Holy One, El-Shadai, &c.
Reasons for rendering the formula "Melach Jehovah," the Messenger (who is) Jehovah; and not _the_ Angel, or _an_ Angel _of_ the Lord.
Visible Appearance of the Messenger Jehovah to Hagar.
No visible Divine Appearances ever made except of the Messiah, the Mediator in all the Relations of God to the World.
Appearances of the Messenger Jehovah to Abraham and to Jacob.
References to various Appearances of Jehovah and Elohim to the Patriarchs.
Of the Doctrines, Worship, and Faith of those earliest mentioned in Scripture--Reference to the History of Moses, Noah, Joshua.
Narrative concerning Job.
Further notice of Divine Manifestations to Abraham and Jacob--Mysteriousness attending the Divine Appearance--The visible Form always like that of Man.
Of the official Person and Relations of the Messiah.
Local and visible Manifestations, Intercourse and Instructions, as characterizing the primeval and Mosaic Dispensations--Local Presence of the Messenger Jehovah in the Tabernacle.
Of the Chaldee Paraphrasts--Their method of designating the Personal WORD or Revealer--Occasion and Necessity of it.
Citations from the Chaldee Paraphrases.
Reasons of the Failure of the modern Versions of the Scriptures to exhibit clearly the Hebrew designations of the Messiah--The Masoretic Punctuation--Reference to the term Melach and the formula Melach Jehovah.
Continuation of the subject of the preceding Chapter--Combined influence of Rabbinical and figurative Interpretations--German method of Hebrew study--Preposterous notion of the inadequacy of Language as a Vehicle of Thought.
Relation of the Antagonism between the Messiah and the great Adversary to the local, personal, and visible Manifestations of the former--Modes of Visibility on the part of the latter, through human agents and various instrumentalities.
Illustration of the subject of the last Chapter, exhibiting the Antagonism as carried on by visible agencies, instrumentalities, and events, in the plagues of Egypt and at the Red Sea.
Further Illustration of the Antagonism--Idolatry a Counterfeit Rival System in opposition to the Messiah and the True Worship--Its Origin and Nature--Satan the God of it--The Tower of Babel devoted to his Worship--That Worship extended thence over the Earth at the Dispersion.
The system of Idolatry founded on a perversion of the Doctrine of Mediation--References to the Worshippers of Baal, Israelite and Pagan.
Idolatry an imposing and delusive Counterfeit of the Revealed System, in respect to the leading features of its Ritual, and the prerogatives ascribed to the Arch-deceiver--Reference to the Symbols of the Apocalypse.
On the question, How it has happened, since the origin of the Nicene Creed, that the Old Testament has been understood to ascribe the Creation, not to the Christ, but to the Father?
Continuation of the subject of the foregoing Chapter--Reference to the Heresies, respecting the Creator, of the three first and ensuing centuries.
Subject of the last Chapter continued--Results of the earliest and most prevalent Heresies.
The great Antagonism--in what manner will it terminate?
A--Relating to the Exposition of the Apocalypse, by D. N. Lord.
B--The primary ground of Mediation, &c.
THE MESSIAH IN MOSES AND THE PROPHETS.
Reasons for examining the Hebrew Records of the Messiah.
It is said of the Messiah, in a discourse with two of his disciples, that "Beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself." And subsequently: "These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures." On another occasion he said: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." And again: "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
At his advent he was, pursuant to a prediction of Isaiah, called Immanu-El, _God with us_. In conformity with another prediction, it was the office of his fore-runner to prepare the way of Jehovah--_the Lord_. And an angel announced to the shepherds: "Unto you is born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord," (_Jehovah_.) "Philip saith to Nathaniel, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, _Jesus_ of Nazareth."
We should naturally infer from these passages that the delegated official Person, Jesus, the Christ, was the theme of the Old Testament Scriptures; that his official agency and relations were there continuously and amply treated of; that his complex character, his divine prerogatives, his prophetical, sacerdotal and regal offices, his works as Creator, Lawgiver, and Ruler, and his relations as Covenanter and Redeemer, were there conspicuously set forth, and were the recognized and acknowledged objects of the faith and trust of patriarchs, prophets, and all true worshippers.
And such undoubtedly was the case. He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament; the Elohe of the patriarchs and of Israel; the Angel or Messenger Jehovah, the Jehovah Zebaoth, the Adonai, the Messiah of the ancient dispensations. Under these and other designations Moses, the psalmists, and the prophets wrote of him; saw, acknowledged, and believed in him; worshipped and praised him in the tabernacle and temple; recognized and obeyed him as their Lawgiver, and trusted in him as their Saviour.
Their faith rested on him as the present object of their homage and trust, asserting his prerogatives, dispensing his benefits, and in all his relations exerting his official agency. They regarded him not merely as he was typified, but as he then manifested himself and executed his offices. In some respects his future manifestations, and especially his sufferings and death for the expiation of sin, were vividly prefigured by typical rites, and were objects of their faith; but in other respects, as their Mediator, Prophet, Lawgiver, Priest, and King, he was the present object of their homage, faith, love, and obedience. The faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and their successors, embraced his person and his official prerogatives and works, and was therefore effectual unto justification, precisely as that of believers under the present dispensation, who are therefore described as walking in the steps of that faith of Abraham which was counted for righteousness. The faith which was instrumental in his justification was the exemplar alike of that of all believers under the ancient, and of those under the present dispensation. To him the patriarchs erected altars and offered sacrifices and prayers, and from him received gifts and promises. To him the ministerial offices and typical services of the Levitical priesthood had immediate reference. In the tabernacle and temple, as Prophet, Priest, and King, he instructed them, prescribed their worship and obedience; and as their present Lawgiver and Ruler, exercised over them his providential and moral government.
All this is implied, indeed, in the facts that the Church of that and the present day is the same; that the method of salvation through faith in him was the same then as now; and that he was the Saviour and Mediator alike them and at present: and otherwise it is not perceived how an intelligible or satisfactory answer can be given to the questions, How did he exercise the office of Mediator under the ancient economy? What agency did he exercise towards his people? How did he exemplify his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King? A reference to the designations by which he was recognized, and the acts ascribed to him in connection with those designations, will supply the appropriate answer. If it was He who appeared in a form like that of man to Abraham, in the plains of Mamre, walked and conversed with him as a man, and heard the prayers addressed directly to him on behalf of the righteous dwelling in Sodom; and who, under various designations, appeared in the same form to Jacob, to Moses, to Balaam, to Joshua, to Gideon, to Manoah, to David, and others; then may we safely conclude that, under the like designations, he was familiarly known and worshipped throughout the patriarchal and Levitical dispensations.
The Messiah announced by Malachi, as Adonai, even Melach, the Messenger of the Covenant--His Appearance to Jacob at Bethel; and to Isaiah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and others, under various designations, as Adonai, Melach, a Man, Jehovah Zebaoth, the Holy One, El-Shaddai, &c.
It will be seen that the designations referred to include all those which are applied to the Divine Being: and that in numerous instances they are applied interchangeably in the same passages and connections, in such manner as clearly to show that they identify the same Person. Thus the words El, Elohe, Elohim, translated God; and Jah, Jehovah, Adon, and Adonai, translated Lord, are, separately, and also in conjunction with Melach, _Angel or Messenger_, and with other names of office, employed to designate and identify that delegated Person who is "both Lord (_Jehovah_) and Christ."
In demonstration of this, we may first refer to some passages in which the appellative _Melach_, the primary signification of which is _Messenger_, occurs, as a designation of him who was sent of the Father; as Malachi iii. 1: "Behold, I send my messenger, [John the Baptist,] and he shall prepare the way before _me_; and _the_ Adon whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even Melach, the _Messenger_, of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Jehovah Zebaoth." And Isaiah xl. 3, 5: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of _Jehovah_, make straight in the desert a highway for our _Elohe_.... And the glory of _Jehovah_ shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it."
These prophecies are quoted by the Evangelists as identifying Jesus the Christ. See Matthew iii. 1-6; xi. 10; Mark i. 2-4; Luke iii. 3-6; John i. 6-8. They point to John as he who was spoken of by these prophets, and as proclaiming in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. He whose way was prepared was therefore the _Messenger_ of the Covenant, _the Adon_, _the Elohim_, and the _Jehovah_--the delegated official Person to whom these several designations are applied in the predictions. That official Person was the Revealer, as well as the subject of the ancient revelations; and, as will hereafter be more particularly noticed, manifested himself in different aspects and relations of his official work, and in those diverse relations often spoke predictively (as at the close of each of the above passages) and otherwise, to and of himself.
The same conclusions result from a passage in the narrative of Jacob's journey from Padan-aram to Shechem, Gen. xxxii., taken in connection with the reference to it by the prophet Hosea: "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled _a man_ with him until the breaking of the day.... And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with Elohim and with men, and hast prevailed.... And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen Elohim face to face." Hosea, referring to Jacob, chap. xii., says: "He had power with Elohim; yea, he had power over the angel, [_Melach, the Messenger_,] and prevailed; he wept and made supplication _unto him_: he _found him_ in Beth-El, and there he spake with us; even Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth--Jehovah is his memorial." Here the God-man, the only Divine Person who, under the ancient or present dispensation, has ever manifested himself visibly in the likeness of man, is seen face to face by Jacob, and is denominated Elohim, the Messenger, the Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth, whose peculiar designation is Jehovah. Accordingly, Hosea says of Melach, _the Messenger_, that Jacob made supplication _unto him_: he found _him_ in Beth-El, indicating that it was in the place which he named Beth-El that he first recognized the official acting administrator of providence and grace, the God-man, in the relations in which he then appeared to him. The passage specially referred to by the prophet in relation to Beth-El is in Gen. xxviii., where Jacob's flight to Padan-aram, to avoid the wrath of Esau, is narrated. On his way he slept in the open field, and beheld in a dream a ladder extending from earth to heaven. "And behold! Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah Elohe of Abraham, and Elohe of Isaac, &c. And Jacob awoke and said, Surely Jehovah is in this place: ... this is the house of Elohim." The _Messenger_ therefore to whom Jacob made supplication, and whom he first saw at Beth-El, was Jehovah the Elohe of Abraham and Isaac, even Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth.
To show by another instance that He who in the ancient oracles is called Adon, Adonai, and Jehovah Zebaoth, is in the New Testament referred to as the Christ, Isaiah vi. may be cited. I saw, says the prophet, "the Adonai sitting upon a throne." "Then said I, Woe is me!... for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah Zebaoth." The apostle John, chap. xii., ascribes what was announced at this scene to Christ, and adds: "These things said Esaias when he saw his glory and spake of him."
With respect to the point now particularly in view, the Scriptures quoted above render it certain that the Divine Person who by Malachi is called the Messenger of the Covenant, and the Adonai, and by Hosea, the Messenger, Elohim, and Jehovah, is identical with Jesus the Christ.
"Sometimes the same Divine appearance which at one time is called Melach Jehovah, is afterwards called simply Jehovah, as in Gen. xvi. 7; Col. v. 13; Exod. iii. 2; Col. iv., &c., &c. This is to be so understood that the _Angel of God_ is here nothing else than the invisible Deity itself, which thus unveils itself to mortal eyes." And after referring to Michaëlis and Tholuck, "Hence Oriental translators, as Saadias, Abusaides, and the Chaldeo-Samaritan, wherever Jehovah himself is said to appear on earth, always put for the name of God, the _Angel of God_." Gesenius, Lex., Art. _Melach_.
Illustrations might be adduced from the New Testament to show that the apostles understood the Messiah and the Messenger Jehovah to be the same Person. Thus, Galatians iv. 14: "Ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus;" where the rendering, in our own and other versions, "_an_ angel," corresponds with the erroneous usage so common in the Old Testament. The meaning is: Ye received me with respect and confidence, as ye would have received the Melach, the Messenger Jehovah, even Jesus the Messiah. For undoubtedly, had a created _angel_ been referred to, a comparison would not have been made placing the Messiah on a level with him. The instances in the New Testament in which the Angel Jehovah is referred to, though unhappily not discriminated in our translation, are from the context easily distinguishable. See Acts vii. 30, 35, 38.
The word _Adonai_ occurs as a Divine designation several hundred times in the Old Testament, chiefly in the form indicated above, but sometimes simply _Adon_. It is often employed in connections which clearly show it to be a personal designation of the Messiah, and which assert or imply his official prerogatives, agency, or relations. It is employed interchangeably with _Jehovah_, _Elohim_, and other Divine designations, sometimes preceding and at others following them; sometimes with, but more commonly without the article.
In the second of the above forms, this word is commonly, like the secular English title _lord_, applied to men in the relation of masters or rulers, as _Melach_ is applied to men to distinguish them officially as messengers. And as our own, in common with other translators, failed to mark the distinction between the use of the word Melach, as a designation of the Messiah, and the use of it with reference to created agents, human or angelic, so they seem to have regarded the words Adonai and Adon as importing something inferior to the Divine designations of _Jehovah_ and _Elohim_; which difference they indicate by uniformly writing their translation of the former words in small letters, and their translation of the latter in capitals.
Whatever impression or inference may result from this usage to the English reader, or to the Israelite who reads the original under the same views which influenced the translation, it is by no means probable that either of them would infer, or be struck with the impression, that _Adonai_ was a distinctive and familiar title of the delegated One, the Messiah, of correlative and equivalent significance as a Divine designation with those with which it is indifferently and interchangeably employed. For the further illustration of this point, therefore, the following passages are cited:
In Gen. xviii., we read that Jehovah appeared visibly to Abraham in the likeness of man, _i. e._, in the delegated official Person, Messiah. In what is related in the narrative as having been said or done by him, while visibly present, he is called Jehovah, while Abraham, in speaking to him, uniformly calls him Adonai, prays to him as having power to save the righteous in Sodom, and addresses him as Judge of all the earth. It is therefore manifest that the two designations, Jehovah and Adonai, identify the same Person; that Abraham speaks to him as visibly present; and that his visible presence in the likeness of man determines him to have been the delegated One. At the close of their interview, "Jehovah went his way, and Abraham returned to his place."
When the personal WORD came to Abram, Gen. xv., saying, Fear not, I am thy shield, &c., Abram, replying, verse 2, calls him Adonai Jehovah, and also in verse 8; while in verses 4, 6, 7, and 18, he calls him Jehovah. Instances like that in chap. xviii., and others, would seem to indicate that in cases of local visible manifestation of the personal Word, designations specially appropriate to his official character and agency were suggested to the minds of the beholders. Thus Moses, Exod, iv. 10, "said unto Jehovah, O Adonai." The Person whom he addressed was the Messenger Jehovah, who had appeared to him. Again, verse 13, he says: "O Adonai." In other parts of that chapter, the same Person is called Jehovah, Elohim, and Elohe. In Moses' song, chap. xv. 17, Jehovah (that is, the Messenger) and the Adonai are addressed as the same Person: "Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance; in the place, O Jehovah, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Adonai, which thy hands have established." So, chap. xxxiv., when Jehovah (the Messenger) descended and manifested the glory of his Person to Moses, and proclaimed himself Jehovah as he passed by, Moses bowed and worshipped; and he said: "If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Adonai, let Adonai, I pray thee, go among us." In like manner, Deut. iii. 23, 24, Moses, praying to Jehovah, addresses the Adonai: "And I besought Jehovah at that time, saying, O Adonai Jehovah.... I pray thee let me go over and see the good land." Also, chap. ix. 26: "I prayed therefore unto Jehovah, and said, O Adonai Jehovah, destroy not thy people, and thine inheritance which thou hast redeemed." Once more, when, after the trespass of Achan, the Israelites were smitten, Joshua fell upon his face before the ark of Jehovah, and said: "Alas! O Adonai Jehovah.... O Adonai, what shall I say," &c. Similar instances occur in the prayers of Gideon, Manoah, David, and the prophets; and throughout their writings, as in the instances quoted, doubtless this term designates the Messenger of the Covenant, the Holy One, the Christ, and whether sometimes substituted by copyists for the word Jehovah or not, its import is the same, as appears from the connections in which it occurs.
At the interview of the same Divine Person with Gideon, Judges vi., he is called Melach Jehovah, Jehovah, Adonai, Melach _the_ Elohim, and Adonai Jehovah Melach Jehovah came and sat under an oak--appeared visibly--and said unto Gideon, Jehovah is with thee. Gideon replied, O Adonai, if Jehovah be with us, &c. Jehovah looked upon him and said, Go in this thy might. Gideon answered, O Adonai, wherewith shall I save Israel? Jehovah said, Surely I will be with thee. Gideon prepared a sacrifice. Melach _the_ Elohim said, Take the flesh, &c. Melach Jehovah touched the flesh with his staff. Fire rose out of the rock and consumed the flesh. Melach Jehovah departed out of Gideon's sight. Gideon exclaimed, Alas, O Adonai Jehovah! for I have seen Melach Jehovah face to face. Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee.
The purport of the expressions in this narrative may be more fully represented as follows: The Melach, (the Messenger,) who is Jehovah, came in the form of a wayfaring man, and sat down under an oak in a field where Gideon was, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee. And Gideon said to him, (Jehovah,) O Adonai, &c. Jehovah looked upon him and said, Go in this thy might, &c. Gideon said to him, O Adonai, wherewith shall I save Israel? Jehovah said to him, Surely I will be with thee. Gideon presented a sacrifice to him. The Melach, (or Messenger,) who is the true Elohim, said to Gideon, Take the flesh, &c., and lay them upon this rock, and he did so. The the Melach, (or Messenger,) who is Jehovah, put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh, &c.; and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh, &c. Gideon said, Alas, O Adonai Jehovah! for I have seen the Melach, who is Jehovah, face to face. To which Jehovah replied, Peace be unto thee; fear not, &c. Then Gideon built an altar there unto Jehovah.
So in the narrative of the visible appearance of the same Divine Person to Manoah and his wife, Judges xiii., where, as in the foregoing and other parallel instances, the term Melach distinguishes the Divine Person referred to as present and seen. The Melach (who is) Jehovah appeared unto the woman, &c. The woman came and told her husband, saying, A _man_, _the_ Elohim, came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the Melach (who is) _the_ Elohim, &c. Then Manoah entreated Jehovah, and said, O Adon, let the man, _the_ Elohim which thou didst send, come again unto us.... And _the_ Elohim hearkened to the voice of Manoah, and the Melach, _the_ (or who is _the_) Elohim, came again unto the woman as she sat in the field.... And she ran and said to her husband, Behold _the man_ hath appeared unto me that came unto me the other day.... And Manoah came and said unto him, Art thou _the man_ that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.... And the Melach (who is) Jehovah said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. And Manoah said to the Melach (who is) Jehovah, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the Melach (who is) Jehovah said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto Jehovah. For Manoah knew not that he was the Melach (who is) Jehovah.... So Manoah took a kid, with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto Jehovah. And ... it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the Melach (who is) Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on, and fell on their faces to the ground, &c. Then Manoah knew that he was the Melach (who is) Jehovah. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen Elohim. But his wife said unto him, If Jehovah were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering at our hands, &c. Nothing surely can be more evident than that all these designations refer to the one delegated official Person--Messiah, the Messenger of the Covenant, visible in the form of man.
Behold, _the_ Adon, Jehovah Zebaoth, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, &c. Isa. iii. 1.
Therefore shall _the_ Adon, Adonai Zebaoth, send, &c. Isa. x. 16.
Behold, _the_ Adon, Jehovah Zebaoth, shall lop the bough, &c. Isa. x. 33.
Thou (Abiathar) bearest the ark of Adonai Jehovah. 1 Kings ii. 26.
Thou art my Elohe and my Adonai. Ps. xxxv. 23.
To Jehovah Adonai belong the issues from death. Ps. lxviii. 20.
Let not them that wait on thee, O Adonai, Jehovah Zebaoth, be ashamed. Ps. lxix. 6.
Thou art my hope, O Adonai Jehovah. Ps. lxxi. 5.
But do thou for me, O Jehovah Adonai, for thy name's sake. Ps. cix. 21.
O Jehovah Adonai, the strength of my salvation. Ps. cxl. 7.
Mine eyes are unto thee, O Jehovah Adonai. Ps. cxli. 8.
The phrases "Thus saith Adonai Jehovah Zebaoth," "Adonai Jehovah," and "Adonai Zebaoth," occur in very numerous instances in the prophets. Probably in all such formulas the sense would be more perfectly expressed by interposing the words who is, or who art: as, _The_ Adon who is Jehovah of hosts; _The_ Adon who is the Adonai of hosts; The ark of Adonai, who is Jehovah. It is evidently by way of explanation, illustration, and emphasis, that two or more designations are so conjoined.
Some critics, probably from regarding the terms _Adonai_ and _Adon_ as of inferior significance to _Jehovah_ and _Elohim_, when employed as Divine designations, imagine that the Jewish copyists substituted the former in place of the latter, or in place of _Jehovah_, to avoid the enunciation of that sacred name. No supposition could well be more improbable than this, whether considered in relation to the subject-matter, or to the reason assigned for it. In relation to the subject, it would imply a general consent among copyists, Jewish readers, priests and rabbies, and Gentile proselytes, as to the instances in which such a surreptitious change should be made, received, and sanctioned. And as to the alleged reason, if it was a real and sufficient reason in a single instance, or in many instances, why not in all? Why suppress the fearful name, and substitute a term of inferior or doubtful import in some cases, and allow it to retain its place in a far greater number of cases? But the groundlessness of the supposition referred to is sufficiently shown by the fact that, in the passages above cited, and in many others, the several designations, Adonai, Adon, Jehovah, and Elohim, are employed conjointly in the same sentences, with reference to the same Person, and as of equivalent import as Divine designations.
The same Divine Person, the Messiah, the Administrator and Revealer, manifested himself to the inspired writers in various ways, and in different aspects of his person and relations: to their faith as the self-existent, omnipresent Jehovah; to their senses in his complex, official person, and delegated, covenant relations, the Messenger, visible in the likeness of man, Adonai, the Adon.
Thus Daniel, chap. x. 16, 17: "One like the similitude of the sons of men _touched my lips_; then I opened my mouth and spake, and said unto him that _stood before me_, O Adonai!... how can the servant of this Adonai talk with this Adonai?" And Amos, chap. vii., relates that he _saw the Adonai_ standing on a wall, with a plumb-line in his hand, and that the Adonai spoke to and was answered by him. The context shows that, though appearing visibly as a man, he exercised Divine prerogatives. Again, chap. ix. 1: "I saw the Adonai _standing_ upon the altar." Afterwards he speaks as Jehovah, and, verse 16, utters the prediction, quoted Acts xv. 16, that, after the Gentile dispensation, "I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, ... and I will set it up."
In the first chapter of Zechariah the following Divine designations occur: Jehovah, Jehovah Zebaoth, Adonai, _the_ Melach, and Melach Jehovah. The Person locally present and visible, who in the 9th verse is called Adonai and _the_ Melach, in the 11th and 12th verses Melach Jehovah, and in the 13th, 14th, and 19th verses _the_ Melach, is in the 8th and 10th verses called a _man_. I saw by night and behold, a man ... among the myrtle trees, v. 8. And the _man_ that stood among the myrtle trees answered, v. 9. And they answered the Melach Jehovah that stood among the myrtle trees, v. 11.
But the prophet on seeing the man, v. 8, addresses him as Adonai. "Then said I, O Adonai! what are these?" And _the_ Melach answered, &c. v. 9. In the progress of the ensuing colloquy, the visible Person, in the form of man, _the_ Melach, the Melach who is Jehovah, speaks to and of Jehovah and Jehovah Zebaoth, as the Messiah did when visibly present incarnate in man's nature on earth; and an audible response was in like manner given. See v. 10, 12, 13.
Illustrations of the same usage might be adduced from almost every part of the Old Testament, where the Messiah, as announced by designations peculiar to his complex official Person and character, and as visibly present, speaks to and of himself and also to and of the Father, under designations which refer only to the Divine Nature. The same is customary likewise with the prophets. Thus David, Ps. cx.: "Jehovah (the Father) saith to _Adonai_, (the Messiah, as is declared in the New Testament,) Sit thou at my right hand," &c. And Ps. ii.: Why do the heathen rage?... and the rulers take counsel against Jehovah and against the Anointed, or Messiah, v. 1, 2. The Adonai shall have them in derision, v. 4. I (the Messiah) will declare the decree: Jehovah hath said onto me, Thou art my Son, &c., v. 7.
The exceeding confusion which obscures our common version of Zechariah, and especially of the first chapter, implies that the translators did not understand the designations above quoted, a _man_, _the Melach_, _Melach Jehovah_, and _Adonai_, as referring to one and the same person, nor all or any of them as referring to the official Person, Messiah.
In chapter ii., _the_ Melach is the Divine speaker throughout: "And behold _the_ Melach that talked with me (see i. 9) went forth, and another angel (a messenger) went out to meet him; and HE (_the_ Melach) said unto him, (_i. e._, to the messenger,) Run," &c. v. 3, 4. Here, according to our version, the other angel is made to direct the Melach who is Jehovah (see i. 9, 11, 12) to run, &c., by the omission of the relative HE, as printed in capitals above; which, it is obvious from the original, and also from the ensuing context, ought to be retained. For after directing the approaching messenger to run, &c., he proceeds: "For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her, Jerusalem, a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her:" the reference of which is further evidence that the speaker is the Messiah, here designated _the Melach_ and _Jehovah_. The same speaker, continuing to the end of the chapter, treats of the dispersion, preservation, and subsequent restoration of the Israelites, and reëstablishment of Jerusalem as his dwelling-place.
Throughout the remainder of the book, the Divine Person speaking to the prophet is the same as the man, the Melach, the Adonai, the Melach Jehovah, of the first chapter. He announces what is said by Jehovah, and Jehovah Zebaoth; his rebuke of Satan, iii. 2; his promise of THE BRANCH, referring to the Messiah as he was to be manifested incarnate, iii. 8, and vi. 12. In various places the prophet designates _the_ Melach, and Jehovah as his Adonai, and as the Adon of the whole earth, iv. 4, 5, 13, 14; vi. 4, 5; ix. 4. Adonai Jehovah, ix. 14, and Jehovah their Elohe, ix. 16, x. 6, declares that the _man_ whose name is THE BRANCH shall build the temple of Jehovah, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and shall be a Priest upon his throne, &c., vi. 12, 13. That it was Jehovah who was prized at thirty pieces of silver, _i. e._, Jehovah says of himself, as Messiah, that he was so prized, xi. 13. Represents Elohim and Melach Jehovah as equivalent, identifies Jehovah Zebaoth with the SHEPHERD, the _man_ that is his fellow, xiii. 7. Jehovah whose _feet_ shall stand upon the mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem, xiv. 4. Jehovah who shall be King over all the earth, xiv. 9. The King Jehovah Zebaoth, whom all nations shall worship.
The term _Zebaoth_, Hosts, coupled with the Divine designations, points to the official Person, the Messiah, evidently in many, and probably in all instances. Thus He who, in Isaiah vi., is called Adonai, the King, Jehovah Zebaoth, is by the apostle John referred to as the Messiah. He who wrestled with Jacob as a _man_, Gen. xxxii., is called by Hosea (chap. xii.) the Messenger, and Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth. It was the Messiah who, with Moses, was with the church in the wilderness. (Acts vii. 38.) The Melach, or Messenger, who dwelt in the cloud and between the cherubim, (Exod. xiv. 19,) over the ark of Adonai (who is) Jehovah. (Isa. iii. 15.) The ark of _the_ Elohim (who is) Jehovah that dwelleth between the cherubim. (1 Chron. xiii. 6.) The ark of _the_ Elohim, whose name is Jehovah Zebaoth. (2 Samuel vi. 2.) _The_ Adon (who is) Jehovah Zebaoth. (Isa. iii. 1.) The Adon (who is) Adonai Zebaoth. (Isa. x. 16.) The Adonai (who is) Jehovah Zebaoth. (Isa. x. 23, 24.)
This term is coupled with these designations more than three hundred times, chiefly in the prophets after the defection of the tribes to the worship of Baal as the Lord of the hosts of heaven, in opposition to Jehovah Zebaoth.
A personal reference to the Messiah is evidently intended in numerous instances by the term rendered in our version HOLY ONE; as is often manifest from its connection with other designations, and from the personal acts or relations mentioned. Thus Isaiah xliii.: "I am Jehovah, thy Elohe, the _Holy One_ of Israel, thy _Saviour_: I gave Egypt for thy ransom. Fear not, for I am with thee. (v. 3.) Thus saith Jehovah, your _Redeemer_, [Goel,] the _Holy One_ of Israel, (v. 14,) I am Jehovah, your _Holy One_, the Creator of Israel, your _King_," (15.) Chap. xli. 14: "I will help thee, saith Jehovah, thy _Redeemer_, [Goel,] the _Holy One_ of Israel." v. 20: "The hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the _Holy One_ of Israel hath created it." xlvii. 4: "As for our _Redeemer_, [Goel,] Jehovah Zebaoth is his name, the _Holy One_ of Israel." xlviii. 17: "Thus saith Jehovah, thy _Redeemer_, [Goel,] the _Holy One_ of Israel, I am Jehovah thy Elohe, which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go." xlix. 7: "Thus saith Jehovah, the _Redeemer_ [Goel] of Israel, his _Holy One_." liv. 5: "Thy Maker is thy husband, Jehovah Zebaoth is his name, and thy _Redeemer_, [Goel,] the _Holy One_ of Israel; the Elohe of the whole earth shall he be called." lx. 14: "They shall call thee, The city of Jehovah, The Zion of the _Holy One_ of Israel." 2 Kings xix.: "Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the _Holy One_ of Israel. By thy messengers thou hast reproached Adonai." Ezek. xxxix. 7: "The heathen shall know that I am Jehovah, the _Holy One_ in Israel." Ps. lxxxix. 18, 19: "Jehovah is our defence, and the _Holy One_ of Israel is our King. Then thou spakest in vision to thy _Holy One_."
That "The Holy One," "Jehovah," and "The Messiah," are the same, is taught in various other passages. Thus in the first instance in which the title occurs, Deut. xxxiii. 8, constituting in part the blessing on the sacerdotal tribe, and containing a reference to other passages: "And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy HOLY ONE, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah." But He whom they proved at Massah, and with whom they strove at Meribah, was Jehovah. "And Moses called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us or not?" Exod. xvii. 7. "Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your Elohe, as ye tempted him in Massah." Deut. vi. 16. "This is the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with Jehovah." Numb. xx. 13. "At ... Massah ... ye provoked Jehovah to wrath." Deut. ix. 22. Now, we learn from 1 Cor. x. and Heb. iii., compared with Ps. lxxviii., xcv., and cvi., that it was the Messiah whom they tempted: "Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted." ... "Harden not your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted me;" that is, Christ, as the context shows.
"Thou wilt not suffer thine _Holy One_ to see corruption," Ps. xvi. 10; quoted with the context, Acts ii., as designating Christ: "For David speaketh concerning Him," Jesus of Nazareth, "I foresaw the Lord always before my face.... Neither wilt thou suffer thine _Holy One_ to see corruption." Again, Acts xiii., in proof of the resurrection of Christ as predicted: "Wherefore he saith also in another Psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine _Holy One_ to see corruption." So the Christ is recognized in various other passages as the _Holy One_. "I know thee who thou art, the _Holy One_ of God." Mark i. 24, Luke iv. 34. "But ye denied the _Holy One_ and the Just, ... and killed the Prince of Life." Acts iii. 14.
Of the passages, besides those above cited, in which he is identified with Jehovah, the Creator, the Redeemer, Saviour, and King, a few are subjoined. The remnant of Israel "shall stay upon Jehovah, the _Holy One_ of Israel." Isaiah x. 20. "At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the _Holy One_ of Israel." Ibid. 17. "Thus saith the _Holy One_ of Israel.... Thus saith Jehovah Elohim, the _Holy One_ of Israel." Ibid. 30. "The hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the _Holy One_ of Israel hath created it." Ibid. 41. "Thus saith Jehovah, the _Holy One_ of Israel, and his Maker." Ibid. 45.
It is thus evident that the appellations, Jehovah, Elohim, Elohe, Jehovah Zebaoth, Redeemer, Saviour, King, Creator, Maker, the Holy One, and the Christ, are indifferently applied to designate one and the same Person. The term Messiah, the Anointed, though familiar to the Jews of ancient and modern times, occurs but a few times in the Hebrew Scriptures as a designation of him. The appropriation of the term seems to have arisen from the custom of anointing the Levitical priests to a ministry typical of the sacerdotal ministry of Christ, and that of anointing their kings to their office as typical of his regal office. With reference to those priests and kings it is therefore often used; but as a designation of the Christ not perhaps more than five or six times: as in 1 Sam. ii. 10, 35; Ps. ii. 2, lxxxiv. 9; Dan, ix. 25, 26. The import of the phrase "Holy One" is so nearly similar, as very probably to have been employed in place of this. This designation occurs in about thirty instances in the prophecies of Isaiah, and frequently elsewhere. Like several other appellations, it is employed exclusively as a designation of the Christ, and is not, like "Messiah," applied to those who are anointed and consecrated to typify his offices.
El-Shadai, Almighty, in like manner designates the Messiah. The Messenger Jehovah who appeared to Moses in the bush, and who speaking to him afterwards is called Jehovah and Elohim, said, Exod. vi. 3: "I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name El-Shadai." "Jacob said unto Joseph, El-Shadai appeared unto me at Luz, ... and blessed me." Gen. xlviii. 3. But when he was first at Luz, Jehovah _visibly_ appeared to him in the vision of a ladder. Gen. xxviii. It was an appearance doubtless of the Messenger Jehovah. And in a subsequent instance, Gen. xxxv., the Elohim _appeared_ to him, blessed him, and changed his name to Israel. "And the Elohim said unto him, I am El-Shadai.... And the Elohim went up from him in the place where he talked with him." This, therefore, was a local personal appearance of the Messenger of the Covenant. _Shadai_ was a familiar designation in the patriarchal period. It occurs frequently in Job. In the New Testament it is applied to Christ. "I am Alpha and Omega, ... saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Rev. i. 8, iv. 8, and xi. 17.
A similar illustration is furnished by the designations, Mighty God, Living God, God of Israel, High God, Most High God, God of heaven, Lord God, and other formulas of frequent occurrence.
There are a considerable number of instances in which the Personal Word appears to be designated by the phrase _Dabar_ Jehovah, translated the _Word_ of the Lord. The "_Dabar_ Jehovah _came_ unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, _I am thy shield_, &c. And Abram said, Adonai Jehovah, what will thou give me?... And behold Dabar Jehovah (came) unto him, saying." (The word CAME in this clause is not in the original. "Dabar Jehovah said unto him," would perhaps be more correct.) "And he [Dabar Jehovah] brought, him forth abroad and said, Look now towards heaven.... And he believed in Jehovah," (in the Word Jehovah, _Chaldee Par._) Gen. xv. Here personal acts appear to be ascribed to _Dabar_--the Word. It was a person who conversed with Abram and brought him forth abroad; as is observed on a subsequent occasion.
"_Dabar_ Jehovah came to Jacob, saying, Israel shall be thy name." 1 Kings xviii. 31. But in Gen. xxxii. we read that "there wrestled a man with Jacob, and he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel." Here, then, the visible person who, in the form of man, wrestled with Jacob, and who is, by Hosea, chap. xii., denominated the Messenger and the Jehovah Zebaoth, is called _Dabar_ Jehovah, the Personal Word.
"Now Dabar Jehovah came unto Jonah, ... saying, [or, and said,] Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from _the presence of_ Jehovah, and he found a ship and went down into it to go unto Tarshish _from the presence of_ Jehovah." Chap. i. "And Dabar Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh." iii. 1, 2. These passages indicate a personal and visible presence. How else could Jonah attempt to conceal himself by flight? In the context the Personal Word who thus came is identified with Jehovah, who speaks and is addressed as one locally and visibly present.
"Now Samuel did not yet know Jehovah, neither was _Dabar_ Jehovah yet revealed unto him." 1 Sam. iii. 7. No manifestation of the Personal Word had been made to him. "And Jehovah _appeared_ again in Shiloh: for Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by _Dabar_ Jehovah." Ibid. v. 21. "Then came _Dabar_ Jehovah to Samuel, saying, It repenteth me, &c." Ibid. xv. 10. "It was charged me by _Dabar_ Jehovah.... It was said to me by _Dabar_ Jehovah." 1 Kings xiii. 9, 17. "And Elijah came to a cave and lodged there; and behold, _Dabar_ Jehovah came to him, and _he_ said unto him, What dost thou here, Elijah?... And _he_ said, Go forth and stand upon the mount _before_ Jehovah. And behold, Jehovah _passed_ by." 1 Kings xix. 9, 11. "_Dabar_ Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying, Before I formed thee, I knew thee.... Then said I, Ah, Adonai Jehovah! behold I cannot speak.... Then Jehovah put forth _his hand_ and touched my mouth.... Moreover, _Dabar_ Jehovah _came_ unto me, saying, [or, and said,] What seest thou?... And _Dabar_ Jehovah came unto me the second time," &c. Jer. i.
Such are some of the instances in which this term appears to be employed as a personal designation. The meaning and reference of such use of it appear to have been familiar both to the earlier and later Jews. See the chapters relating to the Chaldee Paraphrases.
Reasons for rendering the formula, "Melach Jehovah," the Messenger (who is) Jehovah; and not _the_ Angel, or _an_ Angel _of_ the Lord.
An examination of the numerous passages in which the denominative _Melach_ is coupled with the name Jehovah, or Elohim, or used interchangeably with those names, renders it conclusively manifest that in each and every instance the reference is to one and the same official Person. This, however, is not entirely obvious from our common version, owing to the circumstance that the translators rendered the formula, Melach Jehovah, _the_ angel, or sometimes _an_ angel _of_ the Lord. The word Jehovah, in the original, never has the article; nor the word Melach, when coupled with Jehovah, though when employed alone to designate the same official Person, the article is sometimes prefixed, as in Gen. xlviii. 16: "_The_ Melach, which redeemed me." The word Elohim often has the article, and retains it in most of the instances in which the formula Melach Elohim occurs, requiring it to be read, Melach _the_, or who is _the_, Elohim. See some twelve instances in the book of Ezra, and more than twenty in Nehemiah, where there was a special occasion to distinguish the true from the false God. In the formula, Melach Jehovah, there is nothing in the original to forbid the two words being considered as in apposition, and the rendering consequently _the Messenger Jehovah_, or the Messenger who is Jehovah. And that such should be the rendering, instead of the angel or messenger _of_ Jehovah, is apparent from the following considerations:
1st. That the Person identified by this name of office is Jehovah, as is shown by the use, in numerous passages, of the two names interchangeably. The word Melach, it may be observed, is, when coupled with the name Jehovah, and when used separately or interchangeably, with the same personal reference, always in the singular number; and, when coupled with that name, generally precedes it; by which circumstances, and the relations in which it occurs separately, all confusion as to its reference is precluded.
2d. From the consideration that this rendering corresponds with the official character of the Person designated. His office is that of a messenger, sent of the Father--the Mediator, the Christ. The designation in question is in no instance applied to any created angel, and no doubt it was intended to distinguish the delegated Person from the Father who sent him. But to render it, the angel or messenger _of_ Jehovah, especially in sentences in which the Person designated is called Melach Jehovah, and also called Jehovah, Adonai, or Elohim, is not to distinguish but to confuse.
3d. This rendering comports with the official agency of the delegated Person, as the creator, upholder, lawgiver, and ruler of all creatures. The works ascribed to him are, in the same sentences and connections, ascribed to Jehovah.
4th. It comports with the designation by which, when he became incarnate, he was familiarly known, and which is translated _Lord_, as the equivalent of the name _Jehovah_ in Hebrew. Thus, Luke ii. 11, he is announced as the "Saviour, which is Christ _the_ Lord." Campbell renders it, _The Lord Messiah_. The sense is the same as that of _Jehovah who is the Messiah_, or the Messenger _who is_ Jehovah, or the Anointed _who is_ Jehovah. Again, when Thomas saw him after his resurrection, he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God"--my Jehovah and my Elohe. John xx.
5th. It comports with Hebrew usage in other cases. The instances are common in which particular persons are designated by two words in apposition, indicating different characteristics. Thus, 1 Kings iv. 1: "So king Solomon was king over all Israel;" literally, so was _the_ king, Solomon (or, who is Solomon) king, &c. Ibid. vii. 13, 14: And _the_ king, Solomon, sent and fetched Hiram, son of a _woman_, a _widow_--_i. e._, _a woman who was a widow_; and xvii. 9, a woman (_who is_) a widow. Deut. xxii. 23, 28: A _damsel_, a _virgin_--_i. e._, a damsel who is a virgin.
When the article is prefixed to the word Elohim, it often and perhaps always is meant expressly to distinguish the True God from the false; as when the people, seeing the triumph of Elijah over the prophets of Baal, exclaimed, "Jehovah, he is _the_ Elohim:" he, and not the pretended Elohim of idolaters, is the true God. The import of the formula, Jehovah Elohim, is Jehovah _the true_ Elohim, and is not clearly or fully expressed by the translation _Lord God_, any more than it would be by a repetition of one or the other of those words. The meaning is, _Jehovah who is the true God_. So _Melach Jehovah_, the respective terms referring indisputably to the same person, means, _the Messenger who is Jehovah_.
But our translators render Melach Jehovah, the angel _of_ the Lord, as though the angel was a created agent; or, as though Jehovah in this connection was the Father. McCaul, in his observations on Kimchi's translation of Zechariah, defends this rendering: First, on the ground, that if the words _Melach Jehovah_ are in apposition, the translation should be, not, the Angel Jehovah, but _an_ angel, or _a_ Messenger Jehovah. But, since the word Jehovah never admits the article, and since in the formula in question the word Melach never admits it, no reason can be assigned why the rendering should not be _the_ Angel, or _the_ Messenger Jehovah; it being admitted that one and the same Person is uniformly designated by this formula. On the contrary, if this objection were well founded, then in rendering the word _Jehovah_, where it occurs alone, it should read in English, _a_ Lord, instead of _the_ Lord.
Moreover, if his criticisms were well founded, such a passage as 2 Chron. xxxii. 21, where the order of the designations is _Jehovah Melach_, would require to be rendered, Lord of the angel, instead of Jehovah the Messenger, or the Jehovah Messenger. The statement in the text just quoted from 2 Chronicles is repeated in Isaiah xxxvii. 36, where the order of the words in question is _Melach Jehovah_. Again, the formula, (_the_) _Elohim Melach_, occurs in 1 Chron. xxi. 15, and also in that and the next verse, _Melach Jehovah_, referring to the same Person.
2d. He urges that if the words Melach Jehovah were to be rendered the Angel Jehovah, then we should expect to find the article before the word Melach; because, he says, the word Adon uniformly has it when employed to designate Jehovah. But this is a misstatement. When so employed, that word, in its different forms, is generally without the article; as Joshua iii. 11 and 13: "The ark of the covenant of _Adon_," translated _the_ Lord, "of all the earth." "The ark of Adon Jehovah, Adon of all the earth," rendered in our version, "the ark of _the_ Lord, _the_ Lord of all the earth." Here the translators suppress the word Adon where it first occurs; probably assuming, as in the case of Melach above referred to, that it was not in apposition with the next word, Jehovah; and seeing that if it was not, the version must be, the Lord _of_ the Lord, as they rendered Melach Jehovah, the angel _of_ the Lord. But the reference of the word Adon being in every such connection identical with that of the word Jehovah, and the two words, when conjoined, being, like Melach Jehovah, in apposition, the version should have been, the Lord (who is) Jehovah, the Lord of all the earth.
Again, 1 Kings ii. 26: "The ark of Adon Jehovah," rendered, the ark of the Lord God; where the two words are taken to be in apposition: and if the translator felt a difficulty, he would seem to have sought to avoid it, as in other like instances, by an unusual version of the word Jehovah. Again, 2 Kings xxii. 6: "Go up, for Adon," rendered _the_ Lord, "shall deliver it." And to give but one other out of very numerous instances, Ps. lxviii. 20: "Unto Jehovah Adon," rendered God the Lord, "belong the issues from death." In all the foregoing and similar instances the sense requires the words "who is" to be inserted or understood.
McCaul further observes, that the word Jehovah must sometimes be taken as the genitive case, and cites Mal. ii. 7: "The priests' lips should keep knowledge, and _they_ should seek the law at his mouth, [referring to Jehovah Zebaoth, vs. 2 and 4,] for he is _Melach_ Jehovah Zebaoth," rendered, "the messenger _of_ the Lord of hosts." But he gives no reason why Melach Jehovah in this passage should not be rendered, _the_ Messenger Jehovah, as well as in any other passage. Again, he observes, that to translate the formula, Melach Jehovah, the angel Jehovah, is plainly against the Masoretic punctuation. But that is not conclusive; for the points formed no part of the original text, and no one pretends that they were inspired. The authors of that system of punctuation were governed, in their application of the points, by their theological, as well as by their grammatical theory; and however grammatically correct they may have been in their appropriation of them in all ordinary cases, in those passages of which they held an erroneous theological or exegetical theory, they of course arranged the points conformably, so as to make the text express their preconceived opinions. In relation to the present instance, for example, Kimchi, as McCaul observes, "considered the Person designated the 'angel of the Lord,' as nothing more than one of the many angels to whom he supposes the governance of this lower world is committed." Observations, page 9. Doubtless the authors of the points held the same opinion. McCaul observes, in his introduction, that Kimchi and other Rabbies of his day "endeavored to get rid of the Christian interpretations, and to root out the Christian doctrines which had descended from the ancient Jewish Church."
Visible Appearance of the Messenger Jehovah to Hagar.
The first recorded instance of the visible appearance of the Angel or Messenger Jehovah, is that to Hagar, Gen. xvi., where the designation Melach Jehovah is repeated several times. The Messenger Jehovah found Hagar by a fountain of water. He called her by name; directed her to return to her mistress; promised to multiply her seed exceedingly; and directed her to call her son Ishmael, "because _Jehovah_ had heard her affliction." "And she called the name of _Jehovah_ that spake unto her, Thou El seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" The visible Person whom she saw, and who spoke to her, and promised what none but a Divine Person could promise, is called Melach Jehovah, and also Jehovah, and El. He was therefore not a messenger _of_ Jehovah, or a distinct person from him, but Jehovah himself, as recognized and worshipped under the several designations here applied to him. Considered as the administrator of Providence, the things said and done by him were in keeping with his delegated character, and with the acts ascribed to him on other occasions. There is a further notice of his dealings with Ishmael, Gen. xxii. 17, after his expulsion, with Hagar, from Abraham's house, and her abandonment of him in despair of his life. "And Elohim heard the voice of the lad: and Melach Elohim [in our version, the angel _of_ God] called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not; for Elohim hath heard the voice of the lad, where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thy hand; for _I_ will make of him a great nation. And Elohim opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and Elohim was with the lad," &c. Here the speaker is Melach Elohim, which designation must refer to the same official Person as that of Melach Jehovah in the former instance, for he personally promised the same thing; saying in the one case, "_I_ will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude;" and in the other, "_I_ will make him a great nation." That the import and reference of the two formulas is the same, is also evident beyond a question from other passages, where both are indifferently applied to the same person; as Judges vi. 20, 21: "And _Melach (the) Elohim_ said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then _Melach Jehovah_ put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh," &c. And again, Judges xiii. 3-9: "And Melach Jehovah appeared unto the woman, and (the) Elohim hearkened to the voice of Manoah, and Melach (the) Elohim came _again_ unto the woman." The narratives in which these passages occur clearly restrict the reference to one and the same Person.
In the original of these quotations, the article is prefixed to the word Elohim, as it is also elsewhere, (underscored, or included above and hereafter in parenthesis,) which is by some supposed to require the rendering to be, as in our common version, _the angel or messenger_ of Elohim. But this conclusion cannot be sustained: 1st, because it indicates something different in respect to the Person referred to from the formula Melach Jehovah; and 2d, because in other instances of similar formulas the article does not occur, as in Gen. xxi. 17: "And Melach Elohim called to Hagar." The occurrence of the article does not determine the construction. It is often redundant, and is prefixed to the word Elohim where it cannot be a sign of the genitive, because not immediately preceded by a noun to govern it. Thus in the passage above quoted from Judges xiii. we read, "and _the_ Elohim hearkened," &c., the article being prefixed in the original. So Gen. vi. 11: "The earth also was corrupt before _the_ Elohim." Gen. xvii. 18: "And Abraham said unto _the_ Elohim." Gen. xxii. 3, 9, xxvii. 28, and many other places.
No visible Divine Appearances ever made except of the Messiah, the Mediator in all the Relations of God to the World.
Having shown that the denominative Melach, when coupled with the name Jehovah, or the name Elohim, or used interchangeably with either of those or with other Divine names, is a designation of the Messiah; that when that denominative is employed interchangeably with the names Jehovah, Elohim, or Adonai, those names designate the same official Person; and that the formulas Melach Jehovah and Melach Elohim have one and the same personal import and reference, the way is prepared for an examination of other Scriptures in which occur the same designations of the delegated ONE of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, the WORD who was in the beginning, and by whom all things were created and are upheld.
This wonderful Person often, in the course of the ancient dispensations, manifested himself visibly in the likeness of that form which in due time he permanently assumed, by taking human nature into union with his person. In his delegated official character, being the agent in all external and visible works and manifestations, and the medium of all relations between creatures and the Self-existent, he was from the beginning the image and acting representative of the invisible Deity; delegated of the Father to accomplish the works which, pursuant to the counsels of eternity, belong to his comprehensive administration. To him, in this character and in distinction from the Father, belonged all visible personal manifestations. And hence, to enforce the necessary discrimination, and prevent erroneous impressions, the Evangelist John, chap. i., on announcing the visible WORD, the WORD incarnate, as the visible expression of the glory of the Father, says: "No man hath seen God (the Father) at any time; it is [see Campbell's version] the only-begotten Son, that is in the bosom of the Father, who hath made him known." And again, chap. vi. 45: "Every man that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me; not that any man hath seen the Father;" (or, as rendered by Campbell,) "not that any man, except him who is from God, hath seen the Father. He, indeed, hath seen the Father," Again xiv. 9: "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father;" that is, hath seen the image, the only visible representative of the Father. And in his first epistle, chap. iv: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."
These statements preclude the supposition of any visible personal appearance during the preceding dispensations, excepting of the delegated official Person to whom the revelation of the Invisible was assigned; and who when referred to as Creator is called Elohim and Jehovah, and when referred to as the administrator of Providence, or in his relations to individuals and to the house of Israel, is called indiscriminately by all the Divine names and titles, whether significant especially of his Divine nature, or of his official person, agency or character.
In these multiform relations he was the great theme, as he was the lawgiver, administrator and revealer of the ancient dispensations; asserting the same prerogatives and performing the same acts when referred to by official titles, as when specially denominated Jehovah or Elohim. In both cases, from the nature and historical connection of the acts ascribed to him, it is evident that the actor was personally one and the same.
The word Elohim is a general term, employed, it may be presumed, originally, with reference only to the Supreme Being, but subsequently appropriated to imaginary deities. In the Hebrew Scriptures it occurs in several forms, as El, Elohe, Eloah, Elohim, referring sometimes to the Divine Being absolutely, sometimes definitely to the Father, sometimes to the Holy Spirit, but commonly to the Son; as is the case with corresponding and equivalent designations in the New Testament. The radical idea of this word, in its simplest form, is, according to some Hebrew lexicographers, that of interposer, intervener, mediator; derived from the intervention of air and light between all bodies in space, and indicating the universal agency of the Divine Person, primarily designated as interposer or mediator. And undoubtedly the scope of numerous passages implies this special reference, though not always apparent, without reference to other scriptures; as in Psalm xlv. 6: "Thy throne, Elohim, is for ever and ever;" and cii. 24: "I said, El, [with the suffix for my, and rendered O my God,] take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish," &c. These passages are quoted, Heb. i., as having referred expressly to Christ.
Hengstenberg, in his Christology, p. 160, vol I., introduces his investigation respecting the character of the Angel or Messenger, in which he designs to show that the alleged essential oneness of the Messiah with the Jehovah does not contradict the Old Testament doctrine of the unity, by observing, "that the New Testament makes us acquainted with God, the Father of Jesus Christ, as a Spirit, who, being every where equally present, never manifests himself in a sensible form. But besides this concealed God, it makes known to us also a revealed God, associated with him by the oneness of their nature; the Son or Logos, who has constantly filled up the infinite distance between the Creator and the creation, and been the Mediator in all the relations of God to the world and the human race; who, even before he became man in the person of Christ, was in all ages the light of the world, and to whom especially the whole direction of the visible Theocracy belonged. Although this doctrine was first unfolded with perfect clearness in the New Testament, yet we find an essential distinction between the unrevealed and the revealed God, even in the writings of the Old Testament."
After examining the principal passages which speak of the Messenger or Angel Jehovah, and showing "that they really contain the doctrine of a distinction between the concealed and the revealed God," pp. 165-182, he thus concludes, pp. 183-187: "We believe then that we have satisfactorily shown that by the Angel of Jehovah is to be understood the Revealer of God, who being a partaker of his Godhead, and united with him in the same nature, was the mediator in all his relations, first with the patriarchs, and afterwards with the visible Theocracy. This Revealer of Jehovah then was expected as a great Restorer in future times. This is evident from those places in the Old Testament which ascribe to the Messiah Divine names, attributes, and works; for if the Messiah were God, he could stand, according to the whole system of the religion of the Old Testament, in no other relation to the Most High God than that which the Angel of Jehovah was thought to sustain. Further, the passage in Malachi iii. 1 affords the most distinct testimony in favor of the identity of both. There the Messiah bears the name of the Angel of the Covenant, either, according to the general import of the term covenant, the angel who is the mediator in every engagement between God and men, or, according to its special meaning, the angel who established the covenant of Sinai with the people of Israel. From this appellation, therefore, it appears that the Messiah is the same as the Angel Jehovah, whose agency in giving the law at Sinai is not indeed expressly mentioned in the Mosaic account, but it is rendered sufficiently certain by analogy, and by the positive testimony of the prophet. As the Angel Jehovah, in those passages where he is expressly named, bears interchangeably the names Jehovah and Elohim, so must we often suppose him to be intended, where Jehovah only is spoken of throughout. Comp. Gen. xxxii. 24, &c., with Hosea xii. 4-6, and Exod. xx. 3, where the angel is not mentioned, and Jehovah says, 'I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.' Allowing it to have been the office of the Angel Jehovah in general to act as mediator in the transactions between the invisible God and men, his mediation must be assumed, in many instances, where it is not expressly mentioned." "This identity of the Angel of Jehovah and the Messiah was acknowledged also by the later Jews." "But what renders this identity indubitably certain is the evidence of the New Testament, in which Christ appears as the Mediator of the Old Covenant, and every thing is attributed to him which in the Old Testament is spoken of Jehovah and his Revealer. According to John xii. 41, Isaiah saw the glory of Christ and spake of him; on the other hand, in the passage referred to, chap. vi., Isaiah saw the glory of Jehovah. 1 Cor. x. 9, it is said, 'Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents.' According to this passage, therefore, Christ was the leader of the Israelites through the wilderness, and was tempted by them. On the other hand, the Pentateuch relates that they were led by the Angel Jehovah; and in Numb. xxi. 5-7, that they tempted Jehovah. 1 Pet. i. 10 declares that the Spirit of Christ spake by the prophets: but the prophets themselves always refer to Jehovah as the source of their predictions. According to Heb. xi. 26, Moses preferred reproach for the sake of Christ, to the treasures of Egypt: the narrative in Exodus informs us that he sacrificed every thing to the service of Jehovah. According to Heb. xii. 26, at the giving of the law, the voice of Christ shook the earth: in Exodus this was done by Jehovah." "We must in a certain respect distinguish between the Angel Jehovah and the Son of God, and not, with the Fathers and most of the old theologians, venture to say that they are perfectly identical." "That the Mediator of the New Testament was also, as the Angel Jehovah, the Mediator in all the relations of God to the people of the Old Testament, was, with the exception of the above named Fathers, the unanimous opinion of the ancient Church."
After quoting a list of authorities, he concludes: "Let us now briefly sum up the result of the preceding investigation. In the prophetic Scriptures, a divine as well as human nature is attributed to the Messiah; and yet every polytheistic idea is excluded by the assumption of his essential unity with the Most High God. It was expected that the Angel or Revealer of Jehovah, who had often before made himself occasionally visible, and acted as the Mediator between God and the people, in all their transactions, would assume human nature in the person of the Messiah, and redeem and bless both Jews and Gentiles.
"Here the question yet arises: If the distinction between the revealed and the unrevealed God was already made known under the Old Testament, wherein is the New Testament in this respect superior to the Old? The preference consists in this: Under the Old Testament the distinction was necessarily kept more out of view, and hence might easily appear to be founded not so much on a relation in the Godhead itself, as on a relation to those to whom the revelation was made. In the Old Testament, the Mediator commonly spoke and acted in the name of God, whom he revealed. Nor could it be otherwise before the Logos had become flesh. Hence the Revealer and He who was revealed in a manner lost themselves in each other. But under the New Testament, on the contrary, they appeared distinguished from each other, as Father and Son. Religion thus gained a two-fold advantage. It became more spiritual, and at the same time more an object of sense: more spiritual, by the exclusion of those limited conceptions of the spirituality, the omniscience, and the omnipresence of God which arose from confounding the Revealer with him who was revealed; more an object of sense, because the Son of God, in his life, sufferings, and death, brought the Divine Being nearer to man than was possible in the transient appearances of the Angel under the Old Testament. But such a condescension of the Deity to fallen man is indispensable to his becoming like God."
On these passages it may be observed, that in what the author says of the Mediator having "constantly filled up the infinite distance between the Creator and the creation," he proceeds on the common theory that the invisible, the concealed God, in distinction from the personal Word, is the Creator. This is inconsistent with the preceding statement, that he never manifests himself in a sensible form: for He who created, upholds and governs, appeared personally and visibly to Abraham, Jacob, Moses and others, as Jehovah, gave the law at Sinai, and was the leader of Israel. With respect to the distinction which he refers to as existing in a certain respect between the Angel of Jehovah and the Son of God, it is presumed that he considered the latter title as applicable to the second Person of the Trinity, eternally, and as designating that Person anterior to his appointment as Mediator, and without reference to his incarnation or his official work in any respect. The doctrine which he ascribes to the Fathers is presumed to be, that the official Person who is called the Angel Jehovah, and who took on him the seed of Abraham, was identically the same Person before and after the accession and union of man's nature to the Divine; and that he was designated as the same person by the phrase, "the Son of God." In the passages above quoted, where the preposition _of_ is not inserted between the words Angel and Jehovah, the author gives the Hebrew words. When he translates them, he inserts the preposition.
Appearances of the Messenger Jehovah to Abraham and to Jacob.
In the narrative of Abraham's offering of Isaac, Gen. xxii., we read that "Melach Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, for _I_ know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from _me_. And Melach Jehovah called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, That in blessing I will bless thee, because thou hast obeyed _my voice_."
At the commencement of this narrative it is said that (_the_) Elohim did tempt Abraham, _i. e._, try him in respect to his faith and obedience. "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham went unto the place of which (_the_) Elohim had told him." There he built an altar, and having bound Isaac he laid him on the altar, and took the knife to slay him; when Melach Jehovah called to him, forbade the intended sacrifice, and said, I know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son from _me_. From this it is evident that the offering was intended to be made, and was virtually made, to Melach Jehovah. For "By faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac; accounting that God was able to raise him up from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure." Heb. xi. His faith, in this extraordinary act of worship, had immediate respect to the delegated Messenger Jehovah, then and ever the resurrection and the life. He was the Divine speaker on the occasion, his voice it was that Abraham obeyed, and to him he rendered the highest acts of homage and obedience. It was in his official name, as well as in that of Elohim, that he spoke to Abraham, and to him in all respects the scene evidently refers. After offering the animal provided in place of Isaac, he discerned an import and a reference in the transaction, which were to be fulfilled on the same mount at a future day; and he therefore named the place Jehovah-Jireh, importing that what was signified by his offering would be realized and witnessed there, and giving rise to a saying expressive of that result, and pointing no doubt, so explicitly as not to be misunderstood, to the sacrifice of Christ: namely, "In the mount of Jehovah it shall be seen;" or, according to Warburton, Book vi. sec. 5, "In the mount Jehovah shall be seen."
In the narrative of Jacob's departure from Laban, Gen. xxi., he says: "Melach (the) Elohim spake unto me in a dream, and he said, I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the El of Beth-El, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto _me_." Here the Messenger Jehovah declares himself to be the God of Beth-El, and that the vow made there was made to him. In chap. xxviii., where that transaction is related, he is announced, not by this special name of office, but by other designations, showing that in his official character he was familiarly recognized by the various Divine names, whether employed separately or conjointly. And Jacob awaked and said, "Surely Jehovah is in this place; this is the house of Elohim: and Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If Elohim will be with me, &c., then shall Jehovah be my Elohe."
There is in the history of Jacob another striking illustration of this usage. On his way from Padan-aram, after his interview with Esau, he came to Shalem in the land of Canaan and pitched his tent there, and built an altar which he called El-Elohe-Israel. Subsequently Elohim said unto Jacob, "Arise, go up to Beth-El, and dwell there; and make there an altar unto El that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, Let us arise and go up to Beth-El, and I will make there an altar unto El who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. So Jacob come to Beth-El, and he built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-El, because there (the) Elohim appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. And Elohim appeared unto Jacob again; and Elohim said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Isra-El shall be thy name. And Elohim said unto him, I am El-Shadai, (God Almighty.) And Elohim went up from him in the place where he talked with him." Chap. xxxv. But He who visibly appeared to, and wrestled with him on the occasion referred to, Gen. xxxii., and whom he saw face to face, was Elohim in the likeness of man, and is called by Hosea Melach, the Messenger, even Jehovah Elohe of Zebaoth.
The above-mentioned appearance of Elohim to Jacob was doubtless a visible appearance, for after talking with Jacob, Elohim went up from him and from the place of meeting. And it is clear that the same Person who before was called a man is here called Elohim. Probably in other instances, where Jehovah or Elohim is said to appear, as to Isaac, Gen. xxvi. 2, 24, and to Abraham and others on various occasions, were visible personal appearances.
Another instance in the history of Jacob, in which the official designation Melach occurs interchangeably with Elohim, is Gen. xlviii. 15: "And he blessed Joseph and said, (The) Elohim, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, (the) Elohim which fed me all my life long unto this day, _the Melach_ which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." The identity of Person here is made emphatic by the article prefixed to each designation.
References to various Appearances of Jehovah and Elohim to the Patriarchs.
It is evident from the preceding illustrations that during the patriarchal dispensation, the personal Word, Jehovah in the delegated character of Messiah, appeared visibly in the form of man, and was recognized under official and other Divine designations, appropriated separately and interchangeably to the one manifested and acting interposer and agent in the works of creation, providence and redemption. There are in the records of that dispensation numerous collateral evidences and implications to the same effect, which may be comprised under what relates to personal designations and appearances, the import and reference of sacrificial offerings, the places, manner, and immediate object of worship, prayer, faith and trust, and the familiarity of intercourse on the part of the Divine administrator of Providence and guardian of his people during that economy.
As a further evidence that the instances in which it is said that Elohim or Jehovah _appeared_ to Abraham or others were local, personal, visible appearances, it may be observed that on the occasion mentioned, Gen. xvii., it is said that Jehovah _appeared_ to him: "And he left off talking with him, and Elohim _went up_ from Abraham;" as in a passage before referred to, chap. xxxv., that "Elohim appeared unto Jacob; and Elohim _went up_ from him in the place where he talked with him." The word translated _went up_, signifies to _ascend_, _to go up_, &c., and is of frequent occurrence. Thus, Ps. lxviii. 18: "Thou hast _ascended_ up on high, thou hast led captivity," &c.; quoted and applied to Christ, Eph. iv. Judges xiii. 20: "When the flame _went up_ towards heaven from off the altar, Melach Jehovah _ascended_ in the flame of the altar." Ezekiel xi. 23: "And the glory of Jehovah _went up_ from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain." Gen. xix. 28: "The smoke of the country _went up_, as the smoke of a furnace."
The like evidence as to the local, personal presence of Jehovah on such occasions, results from the use of the word translated _came down_, _descended_, where his presence or the local exercise of his prerogatives is mentioned. Thus, with reference to Babel and the dispersion: "Jehovah _came down_ to see the city and the tower.... So Jehovah scattered them abroad," &c. Gen. xi. 5. So on the occasion of his first visible appearance to Moses: "Melach Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon Elohim. And Jehovah said, I am _come down_ to deliver them," &c. Exod. iii. Again: "Jehovah _came down_ upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount; and Jehovah called Moses up to the top of the mount, and Moses went up." Exod. xix. 20. And when Moses took the two tables of stone up to the top of Sinai, "Jehovah _descended_ in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah." Exod. xxxv. At the consecration of the seventy elders, "Jehovah _came down_ in a cloud, and spake unto Moses." Numbers xi. 25. At the sedition of Miriam and Aaron, "Jehovah _came down_ in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and said, Hear now my words." Ibid. xii. 5. These and various other passages clearly import a personal descent in a visible form; and no less clearly indicate, by the titles, occasions and acts narrated, that it was the delegated One, the Word, to whom all such manifestations refer, conformably to the allusion to the ascension of Christ, Ephes. iv.: "He that _descended_ is the same also that _ascended_ up far above all heavens."
The word translated _appeared_, in all the instances of local personal manifestation, literally means _appeared visibly_, _was seen_; as Gen. i. 9: "Let the dry land _appear_;" Gen. viii. 5: "The tops of the mountains _were seen_;" and vii. 1: "Thee have I _seen_ righteous;" ix. 14: "The bow _shall be seen_;" xxxi. 42: "Elohim hath seen mine affliction;" xlviii. 3: "El-Shadai _appeared unto me_ at Luz;" literally, _was seen by me_. Judges xiii. 22: "We _have seen_ Elohim." Exod. xxiv. 10: "And they saw the Elohe of Israel."
This will be further illustrated by reference to particular instances mentioned in the book of Genesis. "And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah who appeared unto him." Chap. lxii. 7. That this was a visible manifestation, is indicated not only by the obvious import of the terms employed, but by Abram's building an altar, and consecrating the locality as a place of worship, and of typical offerings to Jehovah.
Again, chap. xvii. 1: "Jehovah _appeared_ to Abram, and said unto him, I am El-Shadai; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And Abram fell on his face; and Elohim talked with him, saying," &c. After changing his name to Abraham, and that of his wife to Sarah, announcing a covenant with him, hearing his prayer for Ishmael, and giving sundry promises and directions, "Elohim left off talking with him, and _went up_ from Abraham." The language, and all the circumstances and details of this interview, imply a local, personal, visible presence of Jehovah.
The next instance, chap. xviii., is that in which "Jehovah _appeared_ to Abraham in the plains of Mamre," in the likeness of man; was entertained by him, walked and conversed with, and heard his requests in behalf of the righteous in Sodom: which undoubtedly was a local, visible, personal appearance of Jehovah the Word.
In the 26th chapter we read that Isaac went to Gerar, "And Jehovah _appeared_ unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt," &c. Afterwards he removed to Beersheba, "And Jehovah _appeared_ unto him, and said, I am the Elohe of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee," &c. "And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of Jehovah, and pitched his tent there." At these interviews the same promises substantially respecting his descendants were made to him, that had been made to Abraham, with the same introductory formula concerning the appearance of the Divine speaker; and considering that Isaac built an altar and fixed his residence at Beersheba, worshipped, doubtless presenting typical offerings on the altar, and consecrating that as the place of his future worship in the confidence of its being thereafter a place of Divine manifestation, there seems to be very ample ground to conclude that these were local, personal, and visible appearances, similar in their form, as they were in their object, to those vouchsafed to Abraham.
The first instance to be noticed in the history of Jacob, is referred to in chap. xlviii. 3: "And Jacob said unto Joseph, El-Shadai _appeared_ unto me at Luz, and blessed me," &c. The occasion was that of his vision of a ladder: "And Jehovah stood above it and said, I am Jehovah Elohe of Abraham;" see chap. xxviii. Subsequently, chap. xxxv., he was directed to return and reside at that place. "Elohim said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and make there an altar unto El, that _appeared_ unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-El; because there (the) Elohim _appeared_ unto him, when he fled," &c. The repetition of the word _appeared_ in these passages, its implied significance as a reason for building an altar, the occasion referred to, and the object of speaking of it to Joseph, indicate a memorable personal, visible appearance at the place specified.
"And Elohim _appeared_ unto Jacob again, and said unto him, I am El-Shadai; and Elohim _went up_ from him in the place where he talked with him," chap. 35: which can hardly be taken for any other than a local and visible presence.
Of the Doctrines, Worship, and Faith of those earliest mentioned in Scripture--Reference to the History of Moses, Noah, Joshua.
Waiving for the present a notice of many analogous instances in other parts of Scripture, it may be observed that there are, in the history of the patriarchs, a variety of statements and expressions which, from the occasions to which they relate, the connections in which they occur, or the things specified, naturally imply the local personal presence of the Divine speaker, especially when considered in connection with the instances in which it is clearly shown that he was visibly present. In the course of that history there are numerous intimations that the worshippers of Jehovah had places appropriated to their religious services, where they offered prayers and sacrifices, and where, by an audible voice, he held immediate and familiar converse with them. Thus in the first recorded instance of worship, Gen. iv., we read that Cain, and Abel also, "brought an offering unto Jehovah. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect; and Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" It is apparent from this narrative, and from their dissimilar occupations, that they prepared their offerings not in concert, but separately from each other; that they brought them to the same place at the same time; that they respectively offered them to Jehovah; and that he was present in such a way as to be recognized by them, for he immediately indicated to their apprehension and conviction his acceptance of one and rejection of the other, and spoke directly and pointedly to Cain. After his slaughter of Abel, and probably on his resorting again to the place of worship and Divine manifestation, Jehovah spoke again to him, and pronounced a curse upon him for his crime; to which Cain replied, as though not unaccustomed to speak to Jehovah, and said, among other things, as though conscious that he was excommunicated and banished from the consecrated place: "From thy _face_ shall I be hid, and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.... And Cain went out from the _presence_ of Jehovah." Strongly implying that he had been accustomed to the visible presence, and had seen Jehovah, and that banishment from that place forbade the hope of such vision of him again.
It is evident from the details and circumstances of this scene, and from references to it in other parts of Scripture, that there was no want of intelligence in either of the parties, as to the nature and import of their offerings, the ritual and reference which they implied, or the righteous discrimination and the moral bearing and significance of the verdicts and consequences in their respective cases. "Cain was of the wicked one," a disciple and servant of the great adversary, and slew his brother "because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous." He knew, as the questions which Jehovah addressed to him imply, that if he did well, if with the like faith he made an offering like that of Abel, he would in like manner be accepted; and that he had no just ground to be angry, or even to be disappointed on being rejected for taking a contrary course. But he brought--not like Abel a sin offering, implying a conviction and acknowledgment of his personal sinfulness, and of his faith in that great expiatory sacrifice to which his typical offering owed all its significance--but an offering of fruits, an expression of acknowledgment to the Creator, which implied no acknowledgment on his part of his being a sinner and needing a Saviour, or of his having any faith in the prefigured atonement, or any disposition to conform to the ritual of worship. The faith of Abel exhibited on this occasion was, like that of Abraham, effectual to his justification; a faith in the person, sacrifice, and righteousness of the Divine Redeemer; and is the first on the illustrious roll recorded, Heb. xi. And from the nature of the case, as well as from the particulars of the narrative, we must conclude that his offering was in all respects an example of conformity to the ritual of worship instituted by Jehovah, that it comprised not merely firstlings of his flock, but such as had all the characteristics which are specified in subsequent records; that it was made by fire on an altar, at a place appropriated to that object; that it was a medium of his faith and an expression of his homage and obedience, solely by reason of its reference to the person and prefiguration of the atoning sacrifice of Christ; and that it was rendered to that Person then locally present, in the form which he was at length permanently to assume, and in which his sacrifice of himself was to be made. So far at least as these particulars are concerned, the ritual and rationale of the worship prescribed does not appear to have been changed during the patriarchial dispensation, nor in that which ensued, though in the Mosaic ritual many details were added on the basis of those originally prescribed. The method of acceptable worship, the immediate object of homage, and the faith which was unto salvation, continued the same; and it is clear from the narratives in various instances, that burnt offerings, typical sacrifices, were made to the delegated one, personating the promised Seed, under the designation of Jehovah, or Melach Jehovah, when he was locally and visibly present.
It is to be considered that Moses wrote about 2500 years after the creation; that the children of Israel had retained the language and customs of their ancestors, so as to render it superfluous to particularize either the religious or civil institutions of earlier times, any farther than was necessary to the personal narratives or historical notices of individuals and families. They understood and practised what had been handed down from the beginning through Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and others, and though to some extent infected with the idolatrous spirit of the Egyptians, were familiar with the ritual, the sacrifices and offerings, and other institutions of the revealed system of religion. Moreover, all that concerned their religious doctrines and rites was, under his ministry, renewed, and with new revelations and ordinances set forth in writing for their instruction, and that of their successors. Hence the scanty, and for the most part merely incidental, mention of things of that nature in his retrospective history. It by no means follows from the brevity and infrequency of his notices, that such men as Abel, Enoch, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Job, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose united lives extended from the first institution of religious rites down to the settlement of Israel in Egypt, had not a clear and comprehensive knowledge of all the leading truths and essential doctrines of revealed religion, which were known to Moses or any of his successors prior to the advent of Christ. On the contrary, judging from the characters and relations which they sustained, the personal converse with Jehovah which most of them are recorded to have had, and the references made to several of them in the prophets and in the New Testament, we must conclude that they had such knowledge. They received instruction directly from the Great Revealer. Most of them were, at times, inspired, and prophesied. And one might as well conclude that Solomon did not understand even the simplest forms of numerical computation, because mathematics are not mentioned among the subjects upon which he spoke or wrote, as to conclude, because so little is recorded of them in detail by Moses, that these men of world-wide celebrity for their religious faith and practice, and their eminence as princes and heads of nations, did not understand the doctrines and the faith which they professed, and for which they are set forth as examples to Christian believers under the present dispensation.
The possession of such knowledge on their part, and the reality of the local presence and often the visible appearance of the Messiah, the Messenger Jehovah, may be illustrated by reference to the personal history of Moses, Noah, and Joshua, and to the use of terms by them and by other sacred writers.
After the children of Israel had sojourned in Egypt about four hundred years, Moses was called to conduct them to the land of promise. By oppressive laws and rigorous exactions under a new dynasty of kings towards the close of the period of their bondage, they were greatly depressed. At the birth of Moses, however, there were those who had faith, and the knowledge of the true religion was by no means generally effaced. In the exercise of faith his parents concealed him three months. "The children of Israel sighed by reason of their bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto _the_ Elohim by reason of the bondage. And Elohim heard their groaning, and Elohim remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and Elohim looked upon the children of Israel, and Elohim had respect unto them." Exod. ii. The people generally, it would seem, cried to the Elohe of their fathers for relief, and were heard and regarded.
Though from childhood to the age of forty Moses was one of the family and court of Pharaoh, and probably, therefore, could have had no peculiar advantages of instruction in the true religion, he nevertheless had such knowledge and experience of it, that "by faith, when he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Heb. xi.
In this brief testimony concerning him, we clearly recognize the faith of Abraham, and of the prophets and martyrs of later times. He made no compromises with the honors, riches, or pleasures of the world, but renounced them. He sought not to serve two masters. He clearly discerned what distinguished the people of God from idolaters and unbelievers, and was well aware of the afflictions and trials which were consequent on their faith, and their allegiance and obedience to the Messiah, the Divine Mediator, the Messenger Jehovah, the Christ. In the certain prospect of affliction, reproaches, and sufferings, he chose publicly to manifest his faith and allegiance by his conduct. He forsook the court of Pharaoh, renounced the pleasures of sin and the riches of Egypt, and welcomed the cross.
In the family of Jethro, the priest of Midian, he probably found true worshippers, and met with nothing detrimental to his sentiments; and by the scene in which the Messenger Jehovah visibly appeared to him, doubtless his faith was so confirmed, and his knowledge increased, as to qualify him for the extraordinary services to which he was called. Hence we further read of him that, after the miracles and plagues by which Pharaoh was at length made to yield, "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.... And by faith he kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood." Heb. xi.
Now it is in the light of his character as thus referred to--of his knowledge and experience of the true religion as held by the people of God then and in earlier times--of his faith in the person and mediatorial work of the Messiah--that we are to regard him as the writer of the primeval and patriarchal history; and if it is evident that he recognized the Messiah in the person of the Messenger Jehovah, and that in all his subsequent narratives he designated the same official person by the terms Jehovah, Elohim, and Elohe, as well as by the terms Messenger, Adon, and Adonai, then it is safe to conclude that he intended to designate the same Person by the same terms in the earlier history.
At the period of the legation of Moses, the word Elohim was in familiar use in Egypt and among the Israelites as the designation of the object of religious homage; very probably it was the only name of God known to the people generally. Moses accordingly, in the first two chapters of Exodus, which probably were written before the book of Genesis, employs that name only. The third chapter opens with the announcement of the Messenger Jehovah appearing in the bush, and in its progress applies to him indifferently the names Elohim and Jehovah; and in the fourth and ensuing chapters, the same, and Adonai and El-Shadai, but most frequently Jehovah.
If now we suppose the book of Genesis to have been written by him after the events in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and at mount Sinai, and the setting up of the tabernacle, (which occurred about twelve months after the exodus,) where the people, though generally familiar only with the name Elohim, must have become in some degree used to the name Jehovah, we may perhaps discern a fitness and beauty in the first announcements of the Creator in Genesis; where, in the first chapter and the first three verses of the second, the name Elohim only is used; in the second, from the fourth verse, the name Jehovah Elohim, and in the ensuing chapters these names separately and conjointly, and various other designations, as Melach Jehovah, Adonai, and El-Shadai. In numerous instances the _article_ is prefixed to the name Elohim, as if emphatically to designate the God of Israel, the Creator, as _the_ true Elohim, in distinction from the false god of idolaters.
By this method he recalled, and reëstablished in the minds of the people, all the Divine designations known to the patriarchs of preceding ages, and their reference and applicability as designations to the one mediatorial Person; rendering it plain that _the_ Elohim of the Israelites in Egypt, and of the first chapter of Genesis, was identical with Jehovah, Melach the Messenger, Adonai, &c. In this view the resemblance of the first verses of the Gospel of John is noticeable, considering that it was his object to identify the Christ, as he appeared visibly incarnate, with Elohim the Creator announced in the first verses of Genesis.
Let it then be observed that in the narrative, Exod. iii. and iv., it is evident that one Divine personage only is referred to and designated by the several titles which are employed. That Divine personage appeared to Moses in the established or visible glory, the bright cloud-like envelope so familiar afterwards on mount Sinai and in the tabernacle. Moses, recording this appearance, says, "The Messenger Jehovah appeared to him." This was a person bearing an official title--one sent--the Messenger of the Covenant, for whose appearance incarnate John Baptist was to prepare the way, Mal. iii. Moses turned to behold the sight. And when Jehovah, he who appeared in the visible glory, the Messenger, saw that he turned aside to see, Elohim, that is, the person in the visible Shaking, "called unto him out of the midst of the bush, ... and said, I am the Elohe of thy father, the Elohe of Abraham, the Elohe of Isaac, and the Elohe of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon Elohim;" that is, upon the ineffable glory of the Person, the Messenger Jehovah, the Elohim, who thus visibly appeared to him. "And Jehovah said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry, ... and _I am come down_ to deliver them:" come down as a Person, so as to be locally and visibly present. The Elohim to whom the children of Israel cried, (chap. ii.,) and who heard their cry, is, on his first appearing visibly, called the Messenger Jehovah, and here announces himself to be Jehovah who had heard their cry and come down to deliver them. So surely therefore as these acts of seeing the affliction of the people, hearing their cry, coming down, and speaking to Moses, are the acts of a Person, this narrative and these several designations relate to one and the same Person; and this Person is shown to be the Messiah by his official title.
It being thus manifest that, as a Person locally and visibly appearing, these several designations were equally applicable to him, Moses in the next ensuing verses calls him Elohim, and asks by what name he shall designate him to the children of Israel. It is to be observed that there is no record of any visible appearance of the Messenger Jehovah prior to this since the days of Jacob; and it is probable that the names Jehovah and Messenger Jehovah, though known to the true worshippers, were not familiar to the people generally. But these designations being peculiar, and more distinguishing than that of Elohim, which was in common use among idolaters, were now to be proclaimed and brought into familiar use. "And Elohim said unto Moses, I am that I am; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you:" expressions equivalent to those of John, "In him was life," "I am he that liveth;" that is, the self-existent. "And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah Elohe of your fathers, the Elohe of Abraham, the Elohe of Isaac, and the Elohe of Jacob, hath sent me unto you.... Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, Jehovah Elohe of your fathers, the Elohe of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, _appeared_ unto me, saying, I have surely visited you and seen that which is done to you in Egypt." But it was the Messenger Jehovah who _appeared_ to him, and speaking from the midst of the bush said, "I am the Elohe of thy father, the Elohe of Abraham, the Elohe of Isaac, and the Elohe of Jacob.... I have surely seen the affliction of _my people_ which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry."
Again: "The elders of Israel shall hearken to thy voice, and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, Jehovah Elohe of the Hebrews hath _met_ with us.... And now let us go that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our Elohe." Jehovah Elohe of the Hebrews, and the Angel Jehovah who appeared to Moses, is therefore one and the same Person. The Messenger Jehovah, the Person who locally and visibly met with Moses, was the Elohe of the patriarchial dispensation.
In what follows, chap. iv., for the encouragement and confirmation of Moses, the power of working miracles is imparted to him by Jehovah, that the people might "believe that Jehovah Elohe of their fathers, the Elohe of Abraham, and the Elohe of Isaac, and the Elohe of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee." By thus demonstrating the reality of the appearance, he would no less conclusively show that the appearance of the Messenger Jehovah was no other than the appearance locally and personally of the Elohe of their fathers.
Jehovah, still conversing with Moses, said, (verse 11,) "Who hath made man's mouth, or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, Jehovah? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." Here the same Person, the Messenger, asserts the prerogatives of Creator, and the office of prophet or teacher. When Moses and Aaron had gathered the elders of Israel, "Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that Jehovah," that is, the Messenger, "had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their afflictions," which the Messenger asserted of himself, "then they bowed their heads and worshipped."
In the progress of the narrative, and throughout the writings of Moses, the use of the same Divine appellations as in chap. iii. and iv., indifferently and interchangeably, with reference to the same acts, leaves no room to doubt but that the same Divine personage is uniformly referred to. Generally, that Person is called Jehovah when he speaks to Moses. When he appears visibly, as in the cloudy pillar, he is called the Messenger Jehovah. When his attributes or relations, as in covenant, are referred to, he is called the Elohe. In all cases alike he is the official Person, the Messiah, the Messenger of the Covenant. Hence Stephen, Acts vii., referring to the whole period of Moses' intercourse with him, says, "This Moses is he that was in the church in the wilderness with _the Messenger_ which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the lively oracles to give unto us." Thus it was the Messenger who spoke to Moses and to the elders and people at mount Sinai, though he is there called Jehovah and Elohim. "And Jehovah said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever.... And Jehovah came down upon mount Sinai on the top of the mount.... And Elohim spake all these words, saying, I am Jehovah thy Elohe, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, &c.... And the people [at the close of the scene] said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not Elohim speak with us lest we die." Exod. xix., xx. Here the several Divine appellations are by Moses employed to designate the Person whom Stephen calls the Messenger. And Moses, Deut. v., says, "Jehovah talked with you face to face in the mount, out of the midst of the fire."
Once more, Exod. xiv. 19, Moses, speaking of the passage of the Israelites through the sea, says, "The Messenger Elohim, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these." Here the same Person who is elsewhere called the Messenger Jehovah, is called the Messenger Elohim. This Person, and his change of position, are distinguished from the cloudy pillar, and its removal from the front to the rear of the camp. The Divine acts which ensued are ascribed to Jehovah; among which we are told that "Jehovah looked unto the host of the Egyptians _through the pillar of fire and of the cloud_, and troubled the host of the Egyptians." But it was the Messenger who was in the pillar of fire, (the Shekina,) and who therefore looked through the pillar of cloud which had been interposed between him and the Egyptians.
Suppose the Israelites under Moses to have had a knowledge, by previous revelations, of the truth concerning the person and work of Christ, and the way of salvation through him. In that case, such revelations not being committed to writing prior to Moses, but having been matter of oral instruction, were significantly expressed in an outward and visible manner by typical sacrifices, and other religious rites and prescriptions. By complying with these rites, the devout Israelite expressed his faith in the revealed truths which they were employed to recall and commemorate. The visible types were illustrative of revealed truths already known. They were not the medium of a revelation, but a medium through which faith in an existing revelation and obedience to it were expressed. Their office was not prophetic, but illustrative.
Thus, when under the Levitical economy the high priest, duly prepared and arrayed, entered the most holy place, his official person and acts constituted a striking visible emblem of certain truths concerning the Messiah's person and sacerdotal work. Beholding that visible token and illustration of these truths, the believer's faith was called into exercise. So when the priest offered a sacrifice of atonement and sprinkled the blood, burnt incense, or performed any other official act; and when the worshipper laid his hand on the head of the animal to be sacrificed, celebrated the paschal supper, or complied in any other respect with the prescribed ritual.
This method of worship and obedience through significant tokens and visible emblems, and types illustrative of known truths, was instituted soon after the fall, and suited in all respects the economy of outward and visible manifestation which prevailed down to the advent of Christ. Thus Abel, the patriarchs and prophets, worshipped, and thus Simeon and Anna at the time of the incarnation.
Of the patriarch Noah we read, Genesis vi.-ix., that he found grace in the eyes of Jehovah; that he was a righteous man; that he walked with (the) Elohim; that Elohim repeatedly spoke to him, directed him to build an ark, and prescribed the form of it, forewarned him of the deluge and of its object, directed him to enter the ark, and shut him in; that he did according to all that Jehovah commanded him; that Elohim directed him to go forth from the ark; that he built an altar unto Jehovah, took of animals denominated clean, and offered burnt offerings on the altar, and was accepted; that Elohim blessed Noah and his sons, prescribed certain laws to be observed thereafter, and announced a covenant of which the rainbow was made a perpetual token.
In all these communications, the form of address is like that of a person locally and visibly present: "I, even I, _do bring_ a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh.... But with thee will I establish my covenant.... _Come_ thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous _before me_, in this generation.... Elohim spake unto Noah and to his sons with him, saying, I, behold, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you." And when Noah offered burnt offerings on the altar, "Jehovah smelled a sweet savor." From all which, and the occasion and nature of the things said and done, and a comparison of this with the occasions of local appearance to Abraham and others, which are declared to have been visible, we may without presumption conclude that He who spake to Noah was present in a visible form. That he was one of the most eminent and most favored of those with whom Jehovah conversed, whose righteousness he attested, and to whom he assigned the most important services, and imparted the highest gifts, is shown by his being named first of the three, who, by their preëminent righteousness, might, if present, be expected by the captive Israelites to shield them from exterminating judgments. "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in the land, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith Jehovah Elohim." Ezekiel xiv. And if there was, in the course of the patriarchial or Levitical dispensations, any occasion on which the nature and magnitude of the events were reasons for the local and visible presence of Jehovah, surely that of the judicial destruction of the whole race, excepting Noah and his family, may be assumed to have been such.
The word translated altar is from a root which signifies _to kill_, _to slaughter_ animals _for sacrifice_, _to sacrifice_; also _a sacrifice,_ the _victim_, or _thing_, _sacrificed_; and in the form translated _altar_ it denotes the place or instrument of sacrifice, on which the slaughtered victim (wholly or in part) was consumed by fire, and the blood poured out or sprinkled. See Levit. viii. 21, 24, xvii. 6, and elsewhere. Accordingly, to build an altar unto Jehovah, was to erect a structure on which to offer to him slaughtered animals, to be consumed (probably in all instances of acceptable worship) by fire caused immediately by him. Such altars were, in many instances, and probably in all, erected by his direction, and at places specified by him, and they were places of customary worship and of Divine manifestation. It would therefore be incongruous and preposterous to suppose that the worshippers did not understand the doctrines and typical references involved in the system, as well as the ritual forms and observances.
The altar of burnt offerings, above referred to as the instrument of sacrifice by the shedding of blood, was typical of the cross as the instrument on which our Lord offered himself a sacrifice; and to this undoubtedly the true worshippers had reference, which implies a right apprehension of his person and office, as well as of the necessity and efficacy of his expiatory death, and its relation to the justification and acceptance of believers. His personal presence, in a form adapted to suggest such apprehensions, would seem to have been as necessary, when typical offerings were made by Abel, Noah, and others, during the patriarchial dispensation, as when made in the tabernacle and temple, where he was present in the visible Shekina, as is hereafter to be more particularly noticed. At present it may suffice to observe, that since he is declared to have been present in the likeness of man, and as the Melach Jehovah, on some occasions when burnt offerings were offered to him with his sanction and acceptance, as in that relating to Isaac in the history of Abraham, that of his appearance to Manoah, and that to Gideon, it may reasonably be inferred that his personal presence was equally requisite on all occasions of similar offerings.
The local personal presence of Jehovah in the form in which he was often visible is implied and affirmed in passages like the following:
When the children of Israel at Rephidim murmured against Moses because they had no water, Jehovah directed Moses to advance with the people and the elders, and said, "Behold, _I will stand before thee_ upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock," &c. "And Moses called the name of the place Massah, &c., because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us or not?" Exod. xvii. 7; _i. e._, is he personally and locally present or not?
After the apostasy manifested in making a molten calf, Jehovah said to Moses, Depart with the people, &c., and I will send _an_ angel before thee; for I will not go up in the midst of thee, lest I consume thee, &c. Moses having removed the tabernacle out of the camp, the cloudy pillar _descended and stood_ at the door of the tabernacle; and Jehovah talked with Moses. And Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Moses having expressed his great anxiety at the proposed substitution of _an_ angel, and prayed for further instruction, Jehovah said, "My presence shall go with thee;" and he said, "If thy presence [_i. e._, thou, thyself] go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in _thy_ sight? Is it not in that _thou goest with us_? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." Moses, for further assurance, desired to see the splendor of Jehovah's person, and, in a modified degree, his request was granted. Jehovah descended--his glory passed by, &c. Exod. xxxiii. 34. This whole scene implies his local personal presence, in distinction from his universal, invisible presence.
The visible Deity is intended in all such phrases as, "before the Lord," "being seen," "going with," "among you," "in the midst of you," &c., a local reference being manifest.
"Ye have despised Jehovah which is among you." Numb. xi. 20.
The Egyptians "have heard that thou, Jehovah, art among this people; that thou, Jehovah, art seen face to face; and that thy cloud standeth over them; and that thou goest before them by day-time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night." Numb. xiv. 14. Thus Moses argued to avert the destruction threatened on occasion of the murmuring at the report of the spies. The passage clearly imports that it was Jehovah himself who was seen face to face, and who went in the cloud.
So when a portion of the people resolved presumptuously to proceed, Moses says, Go not up, for Jehovah is not among you. Numb. xiv. 42; Deut. i. 42.
"The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp." Deut. xxiii. 14.
In the future misery and desolation of the people they will say, "Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?" Deut. xxxi. 17.
When the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan to Jericho, Joshua, referring to the miracle by which they were to pass over dry-shod, says, "Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you."
Moses is directed to exclude lepers, "that they defile not the camp in the midst of which I dwell." Numb. v. 3.
"The sons of God came to present themselves _before_ Jehovah; and Satan came also amongst them." Job i. 6. The context shows that a local personal presence is intended.
"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved." Ps. xlvi. 5. "Great is the Holy One in the midst of thee." Isa. xii. 6. "I am God and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee." Hosea xi. 9. "Thou, O Jehovah, art in the midst of us; leave us not." Jer. xiv. 9.
Joel, predicting the millennium, says, ii. 27, "Ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else." See Zeph. iii. 15-17: "The King of Israel, even Jehovah, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty." And Zech. ii. 5, x. 11, and viii. 3: "For I, saith Jehovah, will be the glory in the midst of her. Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. And many nations, &c. Thus saith Jehovah, I am _returned_ unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called, A city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, The holy mountain."
Jesus himself stood in the midst, &c. Luke xxiv. 36, John, &c. In the midst of the seven candlesticks. Rev. i. 13; ii. 1. In the midst of the throne stood a Lamb. Rev. v. 6.
The angel Jehovah appeared in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. Exod. iii. 2. Jehovah spake out of the midst of the fire. Deut. iv. 12.
"Jehovah said unto Moses, Lo, _I come_ to thee in a thick cloud, that the people may _hear_ when I speak with thee. Be ready, ... for the third day Jehovah will _come down_ in the _sight_ of all the people upon mount Sinai.... And on the third day, in the morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount.... And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to _meet with the Elohim_; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because Jehovah _descended_ upon it in fire.... And ... Moses spake, and (_the_) Elohim answered him by a voice. And Jehovah _came down_ upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount; and Jehovah called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.... And Elohim spake, saying, I am Jehovah, thy Elohe.... Thou shalt have no other Elohim before me." Exod. xix., xx.
If the acts here attributed to Moses are literally described, so also are those of Jehovah. If Moses literally went up to the top of the mount, the narrative no less plainly avers that Jehovah came down to the top of Sinai. He came down visibly--in the sight of the people; was personally and locally present.
On another occasion, chap. xxiv., he said unto Moses, "_Come up unto Jehovah_, thou and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders, and worship ye _afar off_; and Moses alone shall _come near Jehovah_, but they _shall not come nigh_.... Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and they _saw the Elohe of Israel_, and there was under _his feet_ as it were a paved work.... They _saw (the) Elohim_, and did eat and drink."
No terms could well express more distinctly a personal appearance, in the form seen by Abraham and others. His person was manifest to their senses. They ate and drank in his presence, who in the same form partook of a repast with the patriarch, and walked and conversed with him as one human person does with another.
"Jehovah called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.... And Moses went into the midst of the cloud." Exod. xxvi. 16, 18. The cloud then was such that Moses could subsist in and be enveloped by it.
"And Jehovah said, I will _appear_ in the cloud upon the mercy-seat." Levit. xvi. 2. In this and similar instances a local personal appearance is evidently intended. No such phraseology would be suited to indicate the omnipresence, or merely the spiritual presence of Jehovah. See Deut. xxxi. 15.
"And the cloud of Jehovah was upon them by day when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass when the ark set forward that Moses said, _Rise up_, Jehovah, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, _Return_, O Jehovah, unto the many thousands of Israel." Numb. x. 35, 36.
On these occasions the cloud visibly rose above the tabernacle, and advanced before the children of Israel; and again descended and rested on the tabernacle. The address of Moses seems unintelligible, unless Jehovah was personally present.
"And Jehovah _came down_ in the pillar of the cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle.... And he said, With Moses will _I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently_; ... and _the similitude of Jehovah shall he behold_." Numb. xii. Surely a local personal presence is here intended.
"At the door of the tabernacle _before_ Jehovah, I will meet you, to speak there unto thee; and there I will meet with the children of Israel; and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory; and I will _dwell among_ the children of Israel, and will be their Elohim. And they shall know that I am Jehovah their Elohe, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt that I may _dwell among them_." Exod. xxix. 42-46. "Defile not the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I Jehovah dwell among the children of Israel." Numb. xxxv. 34. "I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with the children of Israel," &c. 2 Sam. vii., and 1 Chron. xvii.
So of the phrases, "dwelleth between the cherubim," "sitteth between the cherubim," and the like, which imply the local personal presence of Jehovah.
The local presence and agency of the Messenger Jehovah, as Captain of his hosts, and dictator to Joshua of all the steps taken by him in the conquest and destruction of the Canaanites, is clearly indicated throughout the book of Joshua.
Joshua had, for forty years in the wilderness, as minister to Moses, been familiar with the personal presence, the agency, the miraculous power, and the voice of the Messenger, in the tabernacle, in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, on mount Sinai, and on many peculiar and special occasions.
His name properly signifies _Saviour_. The Hebrew word Jehoshua is equivalent to the Greek name Jesus, or Saviour.
On the occurrence of the war with Amalek, shortly after the passage of the Red Sea, Joshua was appointed by Moses to command the army of the Israelites. He led out the chosen men of war, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur took their station on a neighboring hill, where Moses held up the rod of God, as a token that all the success under Joshua, in the destruction of the Amalekites, was owing to the superior power of Jehovah exerted specially on the occasion. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
The battle being ended by the discomfiture of Amalek and his people, Jehovah said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, That I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah Nissi," _i. e._, the Lord my banner. Exod. xvii.
Thus the supremacy and leadership of Jehovah was fully acknowledged. It was his war, executed under the lieutenancy of Joshua, in accordance with the specific directions given to Moses, and in the exercise of faith in the will of Jehovah, as indicated by tokens of his appointment.
On the occasion of the giving of the tables of stone, Joshua accompanied Moses, as his minister, into the mount of God. There they tarried forty days, while "the sight of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel." The directions concerning the construction of the tabernacle were given on that occasion. Exod. xxiv. When they descended from the mount, Joshua seems first to have heard the shouting of the people before the molten image they had made. Exod. xxxii.
In the progress of the events which succeeded this defection, the cloudy pillar--the Shekina--descended from Sinai, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and Jehovah talked with Moses. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And Moses turned again into the camp, but his minister Joshua departed not out of the tabernacle." He, therefore, doubtless heard and saw the same as Moses. Ibid. xxxiii.
He was one of those sent to examine and report concerning the land of Canaan, Numb. xiii.; on which occasion, Moses changed his name from Oshea to Jehoshua. Ten of those sent were unfaithful. The joint report of Joshua and Caleb was true and faithful. The ten were destroyed by a plague; the two were protected and preserved. Ibid. xiv.
Joshua was specially set apart as the successor of Moses, and consecrated by the laying on of Moses' hands, in the presence of the high priest and the congregation. Numb. xxvii. He, with the high priest, was appointed to divide the land. Ibid. xxxiv. When Moses was forbidden to enter the good land, he was notified that his minister Joshua would lead the children of Israel thither, and commanded to encourage him. Deut. i. 38. This he did, Deut. iii., and more emphatically, chap. xxxi., when in the presence of all Israel he encouraged him, and cited the predictions concerning his causing the people to inherit the land; adding, "And Jehovah, he it is that doth go _before thee_; he will be _with thee_; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed."
On the death of Moses, we read that "Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as Jehovah commanded Moses." Deut. xxxiv.
Notwithstanding all this training, discipline, and intimate fellowship with Moses for forty years, and the premonitions, designations and predictions of him, as leader of Israel in place of Moses; yet such was the sacredness and specialty of the relation in which he was to officiate, that Jehovah spake unto Joshua, charged him with the duties he was to perform, and promised him victory and complete success, in case of his fidelity. "As I was with Moses, so _I will be with thee_. I will not fail nor forsake thee. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God _is with thee_ whithersoever thou goest." Josh. i.
Joshua was to act only upon the authority expressly delegated to him, and in the strictest subordination to the directions previously given to Moses, and those which Jehovah now and from time to time announced to him. The circumstances, like those which attended Moses at the commencement and throughout his official life, required an assured and unwavering faith in the declared purposes, the promises, the presence and power of Jehovah the Elohe of Israel, the king, preserver, teacher, and guide of his people.
There was, no doubt, a degree of mysteriousness connected with the personal and local manifestations of Jehovah, which rendered an unwavering faith constantly requisite. The minds of men, no less at that than at other periods, were most readily and strongly affected by visible and familiar objects. The chief incitements to idolatry were visible, and such as were supposed to be easily comprehended. The fears of men, founded in their consciousness of guilt and ignorance, had reference naturally to things invisible and mysterious. The conscious depravity, corruption, blindness and ill-desert of men, in contrast with the perfect holiness, righteousness, impartiality, and other perfections of Jehovah, could not but excite their natural inclination to exclude him from their thoughts, instead of loving and confiding in him, and realizing his presence by faith.
Whether for these or other reasons, a strong, constant, unwavering faith in the person and the perfections, prerogatives and works of Jehovah, was not uniformly exhibited even by the patriarchs and prophets of the ancient dispensation. That dispensation was specially characterized as one of outward and visible manifestations, miraculous interpositions, and audible revelations; yet in the most signal instances of strong faith as occasioning it, some special and overpowering manifestation of Jehovah was vouchsafed. Thus Abraham, on the occasion of entering into and ratifying the covenant concerning the everlasting inheritance of the promised land by his posterity, through Christ as his Seed; the Shekina visibly appeared, passed between the pieces of the sacrifice, and probably consumed them. And again, prior to the destruction of Sodom, when that event was revealed, and the earlier promises were renewed to him, Jehovah appeared in the form of man, and conversed and walked with him.
Narrative concerning Job.
In the narrative concerning Job, who is supposed to have lived in the age preceding that of Abraham, we read, chapter i., that he from time to time offered burnt offerings continually; and that "there was a day when the sons of (the) Elohim came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?--And Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah." A statement in the same words is made in relation to another day, chapter ii.; from which passages it appears that Job, as priest of his family, offered typical sacrifices according to the custom of that age; and that there was a place to which the true worshippers came to present themselves before Jehovah--a place doubtless of customary resort for worship, and, from the analogy of the patriarchal history, of visible manifestation. They came there to present themselves before Jehovah, implying that he was personally and locally present; which is also strongly implied in the statement, on both occasions, that Satan went forth from _the presence_ of Jehovah. That adversary and accuser of the sons of Elohim was literally present, and it is not perceived how he could be said to go forth from the spiritual presence of Jehovah. It is probable that he was not visible to the worshippers, and that neither the words addressed to him, nor his replies, were audible to them. But those words proceeded from Him from whose presence he went forth.
However this may be, it is evident from subsequent passages that Job had clear apprehensions of the person and office of the Redeemer, and recognized him as Jehovah in the administration of providence. To that official person he doubtless refers under the designation _Shadai_, translated Almighty, which he employs more than thirty times; which appears from Exod. vi. to have been familiar to the patriarchs, and which, from a comparison of passages from the Old and New Testaments, signified the same divine Person as Melach Jehovah. In one instance only he employs the term Adonai as a Divine designation--namely, in the passage concerning Wisdom, chap. xxviii.: "Elohim understandeth the way thereof. When he made a decree for the rain, then did he see it. And unto man he said, Behold the fear of Adonai, that is wisdom." In chapter xix. he refers to the same Person under an official designation of frequent occurrence. "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and ... in my flesh shall I see Eloah." The word _Goel_, translated _Redeemer_, is employed with the same reference in the following among other passages. "Melach the Messenger, which _redeemed_ me from all evil." Gen. xlviii. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my strength and my _Redeemer_." Ps. xix. "And they remembered that Elohim was their rock, and El, their _Redeemer_." Ps. lxxviii. "Thus saith Jehovah your _Redeemer_, and the Holy One of Israel." Isa. xliii. 14. "Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his _Redeemer_, Jehovah Zebaoth." Ibid. xliv. 6. "Thus saith Jehovah thy _Redeemer_, and he that formed thee, I am Jehovah that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone," &c. Isa. xliv. 24. "All flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Saviour, and thy _Redeemer_, the Mighty One of Jacob." Isa. xlix. 26.
The original word, as a verb, signifies to redeem, to ransom; and as a noun, a kinsman, blood relation, one having a right, or to whom it pertained, to redeem; redeemer, kinsman-redeemer. Hence, when employed as in the passages above cited, it includes a reference to the complex person of Christ, and to Eloah in human nature, as spoken of prospectively by Job.
At the close of his appointed trial, when the integrity of Job had been vindicated, and the imputations and predictions of the adversary confuted, a different and more glorious manifestation of Jehovah was made to him, a manifestation adapted and designed--like that to Ezekiel, chap. i., in the likeness of _a man_ on a throne in the midst of fire and cloud, moving as in a whirlwind, and like that to Isaiah, chap. vi., and that to the disciples on the holy mount--to impart to him new and more exalted apprehensions of the perfections, prerogatives, and works of Jehovah; to fit the humbled and penitent beholder for the gifts and honors he was to receive, the duties he was to perform, and the conspicuous station he was to occupy as one whose righteousness had been publicly tried and divinely attested. "Jehovah answered Job out of _the whirlwind_, and said, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" &c.; adding a prolonged detail of his works of creation and providence, and contrasting the ignorance and nothingness of man with the operations of his wisdom and power. Job answered: "Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth." He confesses his sinfulness, the ignorance and errors which had marked his replies to his friends, and adds: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." He saw him in that ineffable and, to mortals, all but insupportable splendor of glory, which caused such an impression of his deity and his holiness, as in contrast to make him conscious of his own vileness as a sinner, and induce in him the utmost self-abasement; as in the parallel instance of Ezekiel, it is said that "he fell upon his face;" and in that of Isaiah, that he exclaimed, on seeing Adonai Jehovah Zebaoth, "Woe is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips;" and of Daniel, in an analogous instance of his vision of the same glorified Person in the likeness of man, chap. x., that he fell with his face to the ground, that there remained no strength in him, that his comeliness was turned into corruption. So at the Transfiguration on the mount, the disciples fell on their faces and were sore afraid. Paul, on witnessing a like personal manifestation, fell to the earth; and John, in Patmos, seeing that glorified Person, fell at his feet as dead.
There was prevalent, at a very early period, a sentiment that to see God would occasion or be followed by the death of the beholder; which probably arose, not from simple appearances in the likeness of man, on occasions which called for no exhibitions of Divine majesty and glory, but from manifestations of overpowering, insupportable radiance, comparable only to that of lightning, or that of the unclouded sun. Such a manifestation we may well suppose to have been made on the expulsion of Adam from Eden, in conjunction with the cherubic forms, as in repeated instances afterwards. It was demanded by the occasion and the end to be accomplished. There were sword-like flames, or lightnings, as when Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with (the) Elohim, when he descended on mount Sinai; and they, terrified by the lightnings, said, "Let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die;" and as in the vision of Ezekiel, "out of the fire went forth lightning." So when the seventy elders ascended mount Sinai with Moses, "and saw the Elohe of Israel, the sight of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire."
The sentiment or apprehension above referred to is indicated by Jacob, after wrestling with the Messenger Jehovah: "I have seen Elohim face to face, and _my life is preserved_." Also in the words addressed to Gideon after he had exclaimed, "Alas, O Adonai Jehovah! for because I have seen the Messenger Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, Fear not, thou shalt not die." And, "Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen Elohim." Such an inference is very likely to have been drawn from the declaration of Jehovah to Moses, Exod. xxxiii. 20: "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man _see me_ and live;" that is, _see me_ unveiled by the human form, or by a dark or luminous cloud-like envelope, as in the burning bush, on mount Sinai, and in the tabernacle; for in these modes of appearance Moses had repeatedly seen him, and in the chapter above referred to, vs. 9, we read that, "As Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle; and Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." But, owing to the defection of Aaron and the people in making and worshipping a molten image, he had, to the consternation of Moses, intimated a purpose to withdraw from among them; and after he had, upon the earnest entreaty of Moses, signified that his presence should continue with them, Moses, in his anxiety and perturbation, and perhaps fearing that he would not visibly manifest himself, (see vs. 16,) besought that he would show him his glory, the unclouded glory of his person. This was denied, as certain to be fatal. But as far as he could endure the sight and live, the request was granted. "And Jehovah descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. And Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped."
Further notice of Divine Manifestations to Abraham and Jacob--Mysteriousness attending the Divine Appearances--The visible Form always like that of Man.
In resuming the notice of expressions and statements in the history of the patriarchs, which imply the local and visible presence of Jehovah, the first to be referred to is in Gen. xii.: "Now Jehovah had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee; and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing, and in thee"--thy SEED, which is Christ, Gal. iii. 16--"shall all the families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as Jehovah had spoken unto him. And Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran ... to go into the land of Canaan." He had, some time before this, migrated with Terah his father from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, as is related chap. xi. 31. That removal, by which probably he was separated from idolatrous neighbors, is thus referred to, chap. xv. 7: "And Jehovah said unto him, I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." And again, Nehemiah ix. 7: "Thou art Jehovah (the) Elohim, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees." From those references it is apparent that he was chosen, called, and received immediate personal communications from Jehovah, whom he afterwards saw in the form of man, and knew as El-Shadai, Jehovah, Adonai Jehovah, and Melach Jehovah.
Having arrived at the plain of Moreh, in the land of Canaan, "Jehovah _appeared_ unto Abram and said, Unto thy SEED will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah who _appeared_ unto him." Considering the reiterated statement in this brief passage that Jehovah _appeared_ to Abram; that the occasion was that of the first formal announcement of the great promise of that dispensation to which all subsequent revelations, covenants and promises to Abraham relate; that on the most explicit renewal of this promise, chap. xxii. 18, Melach Jehovah is the speaker; and that Abram signalized the occasion of this first announcement by erecting an altar to Jehovah, and doubtless offering burnt offerings thereon, there seems sufficient ground to conclude that this was an instance of local visible presence.
Abram next removed to a mount east of Beth-El, "and there he builded an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon the name of Jehovah." Chap. xii. 8. On the occurrence of a famine he went down to Egypt, whence he returned to Beth-El, "unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first, and there Abram called on the name of Jehovah." xiii. 4. These passages indicate his custom of offering typical sacrifices, and calling on the name of Jehovah at the place set apart, for the time being, to that purpose; and from the nature of the case, and its analogy to other recorded instances (as Gen. xxxii. 13) of such offerings to Melach Jehovah, there is no ground to suppose that the same official Person was not the immediate object of homage in the present instance.
So of the ensuing narrative, Gen. xiii. 14-18: "And Jehovah said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." "Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, and built there an altar unto Jehovah."
In chapter xv. we read that "The _Word_ of (rather _who is_) Jehovah _came_ unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Adonai Jehovah, what wilt thou give me, &c. And behold, the _Word_ (who is) Jehovah _came_ unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; ... and _He_ brought him forth abroad and said, Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them; and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in Jehovah, and He counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto Him, Adonai Jehovah, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" In this narrative the Personal Word appears to be designated by a term equivalent to Logos, as applied in the first chapter of John, namely, _Dabar_, importing the same as the Chaldee term _Memra_, frequently inserted with the same personal reference by the Chaldee paraphrasts. The Dabar (who is) Jehovah _came_ unto Abram, saying, ... He brought him forth abroad, and said, &c. These are personal acts, not to be affirmed of an audible voice. They imply the local presence of the speaker, whom Abram addresses as Adonai Jehovah. Throughout the chapter he is the speaker. Abram's faith in him as Jehovah is unto righteousness. In this, as in some instances hereafter to be noticed, the sense and construction of the passage seem to require that the term translated _Word_ should be considered a personal designation, having the same relation to the term Jehovah as Adon, Adonai, and Melach.
On the occasion of changing the patriarch's name to Abraham, and that of his wife to Sarah, chap. xvii., "Jehovah _appeared_ to Abram, and said unto him, I am El-Shadai; walk before me, and be thou perfect.... And Abram fell on his face, and Elohim talked with him." vs. 1, 3; and vs. 19, 22: "Elohim said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed.... And Elohim went up from Abraham." Here the phraseology in each of the clauses quoted implies a local personal presence of Jehovah. That it was a visible appearance is further implied in the next chapter, where, in the narrative of his appearance in the likeness of man, he refers to this promise of a son as having been made by him, vs. 10; and to remove the doubts of both Abraham and Sarah, he adds: "Is any thing too hard for Jehovah? At the time appointed _I will return_ unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."
Of the appearance last referred to, chap. xviii., when, in the form of a wayfaring man, he partook of the repast prepared by Abraham, spoke concerning Sarah, walked towards Sodom, disclosed his purpose of destroying that place, and heard Abraham's request on behalf of the righteous, there can be no question of its having been local and visible. It is noticeable that the narrative of this manifestation is introduced by the same formula as others which include no express indications of his visibility. Thus, vs. 1: "And Jehovah _appeared_ unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre." In the progress of the narrative, the Divine visitant is called a man, Jehovah, and Adonai, and at its close it is said that "Jehovah went his way"--literally, "walked away"--as "soon as he had left communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place." In the next chapter, which relates the destruction of Sodom, the same Person is called Jehovah and Elohim. "Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before _Jehovah_"--that is, before the visible Person in the likeness of man, to whom he addressed his prayers for the righteous. "And it came to pass when _Elohim_ destroyed the cities of the plain, that _Elohim_ remembered Abraham."
When the time had arrived for Jacob to withdraw from Laban, "Jehovah said unto him, Return unto the land of thy fathers." Gen. xxxi. 3. Referring to this, vs. 7, he says: "The Elohe of my father hath been with me." After relating to his family something of the treatment he had received from Laban, and of the special favor of Elohim to him, he recurs to the command above quoted, vs. 11-13: "And Melach (the) Elohim spake unto me in a dream and said, I am the El of Beth-El, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me. Now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.... And Rachel and Leah answered, ... Now, whatsoever Elohim hath said unto thee, do." The statements in the two clauses first above cited evidently refer to the same occasion as those which follow; and therefore the Elohe of his father, who had been with him, was Melach, the Messenger Elohim who spoke to him, vs. 11, and who doubtless appeared to him to be present, in a form with which he was familiar. This is further implied in the words at the close of his remonstrance with Laban, vs. 42: "Except the Elohe of my father, the Elohe of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. Elohim hath seen my affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight."
The familiarity of Jacob with the visible presence of Jehovah is indicated by his expression when, to his surprise and joy, Esau met him with a kindness and cordiality which showed that he no longer harbored any ill-will towards him. Jacob urged him to receive his present, and said: "I have seen thy _face_, as though it had been the _face_ of Elohim, and thou wast pleased with me," chap. xxxiii. 10; implying that this personal interview and manifestation of favor produced an effect upon his feelings resembling that of visible Divine manifestations, to which he was accustomed; a signal instance of which had just occurred, chap. xxxii., when "he saw Elohim face to face."
Doubtless there was a degree of mysteriousness inseparable from those appearances of the Divine Person, arising, however, not from their infrequency, for they seldom seem to have occasioned surprise, but rather from the different forms of manifestation, the different degrees of visibility; a consciousness that He who was sometimes visibly present was, when unseen, not absent; not less cognizant of their thoughts and actions, nor less their preserver and defender. They knew that he could, at pleasure, render himself visible in the simple form of man, in a vision, in a dense or a luminous cloud, in the colors of the precious gems and minerals, and in the insupportable splendors of the solar and electric fires. They knew that he was of purer eyes than to behold iniquity with any allowance, and were conscious of their defilement and ill-desert. Their faith reposed on him, unseen as well as manifest; and when he was locally present to their senses, it was necessary to exclude or modify their accustomed discrimination between spiritual and physical, invisible and visible conditions and modes of being.
There must have been, besides a familiarity with the fact of his visible appearances, a well-established association of authorized and intelligent convictions in their minds respecting his official person and character, the nature of his Agency, his mediatorial relations, which assumed a covenant or stipulated relationship of man with the Deity in his Person, and harmonized the Divine in his manifestations with the human in his visible form, all which necessarily involved more or less of the mysterious and unknown. Yet they well understood the tokens which identified him, and, if not exhibited in the first moments of his appearance, recognized them as soon as given, and promptly rendered him the homage, addressed him by the titles, and ascribed to him the prerogatives and works of the Creator, Proprietor, Ruler and Redeemer of the world.
But he was not at all times visible. The patriarchs lived by faith as well for the most part of their days and years, perhaps, with respect to him personally, as with respect to the future issues of his interpositions and administration. They could not see him at their pleasure, even when his words or acts indicated that he was locally near them. "Lo, he goeth by me," saith Job, "and I see him not: he passeth on, also, but I perceive him not. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him; he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him; but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
It would seem to have been by an effect wrought in them, both when awake and when asleep, that he, and also that created spiritual beings, when locally present, became visible or manifest to their consciousness. In several instances the eyes of the beholders are said to be opened, not to behold objects ordinarily visible, but objects which, though present, it was not, without that operation, their privilege to see. Thus, in the narrative of Balaam, "the Messenger Jehovah stood in the way as an adversary against him," and repeatedly checked his progress, while to him invisible. At length, "Jehovah opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the Messenger Jehovah standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand," &c. So in the case of the servant of Elisha: "Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, round about Elisha." And of the disciples on the way to Emmaus in company with the risen Saviour, it is said, "their eyes were holden that they should not know him;" and at length "their eyes were opened, and they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight."
Considering that in all ages and countries the minds of men have been startled and thrown off their balance by the supposed apparition of spirits, real or imaginary, angelic or human, from the invisible world, whether in material or in impalpable forms, and have regarded them as inscrutably mysterious and appalling, the fact that such impressions of surprise and dread were not commonly occasioned, or are so slightly indicated, when the Messenger Jehovah was unexpectedly and visibly recognized, strongly implies that the beholders were familiar not only with the reality and the modes of his appearance, but with his official Person, character and relations.
The statements and intimations contained in the Holy Scriptures concerning the celestial beings comprehensively called angels, warrant the conclusion, that the faculties by which they perceive external objects are analogous to those of man. They see and hear, and are seen and heard, in a way similar to that of the bodied human race. They have the faculty of becoming visible to men, and when visible, they have, in all recorded instances, the human form. It is obvious that, in order to be discernible by the human eye, they must have a specific form; and accordingly, both with reference to the Messenger who is Jehovah, and to the created angels, such is the case in each and every instance of visibility. Thus in the case of the three who, in the form of men, appeared to Abraham, prior to the destruction of Sodom. In form, the three appeared alike, and the two were distinguished from the ONE only by the circumstances which ensued.
To created angels appearing visibly in this manner, it is clear that the same laws of optics and acoustics are available as to men, only in a far higher degree. That they saw objects which are naturally visible to men as clearly as men see them, and heard sounds and voices audible to them as distinctly as they, is evident from every narrative in which such things are mentioned or implied. But their power of visual and auricular perception is not restricted as in the human race. From the nature of the organism in which the spirit of man resides, his natural power in these relations is very limited. In the instance of vision, however, his natural power may, in conformity with the ordinary laws of vision, be, by the appliances of art, immeasurably increased. Telescopes and microscopes are but additions to the natural organ. In angels that organ may naturally as far transcend the optical power of human skill and science, as the latter exceeds the unaided power of vision in man. Moreover, to spirits inhabiting angelic organisms, things which circumscribe human vision probably constitute no obstructions. Material bodies which to the human eye are opaque, may to them be as transparent as crystal or the atmosphere to man. The degree of light necessary to their vision of objects may be as nothing compared with that required by the human eye; and distance, so wonderfully obviated by the effect of optical instruments, may be, and undoubtedly is, proportionally, as nothing to them.
Now, since those beings have a distinct, personal, visible form--visible to the unaided human eye on the occasion of their appearance in the earlier and at the opening of the present dispensation, as at the annunciation and the resurrection--and since their visual perceptions correspond to our law of optics, it is to be inferred that they see each other and all external objects in the same way as they saw men; and doubtless the like, both with respect to the mode and the degree or extent of perception, may be safely inferred in relation to their hearing and feeling.
Whatever else may be true of the organisms in which they dwell, enough is revealed to justify the conclusion, that, being in their attributes as spirits like the spirits of men, they exercise their faculties through the instrumentality of those organisms in the same way as men through theirs. Thus it is certain that by means of those visible forms they exercise physical power. The two angels who came in the form of men to Lot in Sodom, "_put forth their hands and pulled Lot into the house to them_, and shut to the door. And _the men_ said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides?... And while he lingered, the _men_ laid hold upon his hand, ... and they brought him forth and set him without the city." Gen. xix.
The established form, then, in which, from the beginning, spiritual beings have visibly appeared, was conformable to that assigned to the human race; insomuch that such beings were never otherwise discernible to the human eye. That form was assumed, with man's nature, by the Messiah when he became incarnate; and there is therefore nothing incongruous or inherently improbable in the supposition of his having appeared visibly in the likeness of that form at earlier periods, as the Scriptures clearly teach. It is not more unlikely that in those earlier appearances, on occasions when no Divine effulgence was exhibited, his visible appearance should be like that of angelic messengers, than that theirs should be like that of man, or that his should be so when literally incarnate. And if the Deity has ever appeared visibly to man, it was indubitably to the patriarchs and prophets as the Messiah, under the designations and on the occasions heretofore referred to, and publicly in Judea at the period of his literal incarnation.
Consistently with these views, the Scriptures, in speaking of him in the various aspects and relations in which he appeared, employ terms which are appropriate to one with attributes and modes of visible action like those of man; of his head, face, eyes, hands, feet; of his sitting down, rising up, standing, walking, working, resting, hearing, speaking, and the like. As leader and defender of his people, "Jehovah is _a man_ [is like a man] of war, Jehovah is his name." Exod. xv. 3. "And Jehovah _went_ [walked] his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham." Gen. xviii. 33. "Jehovah _looked_ unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud." Exod. xiv. Moses and the elders ascended mount Sinai, "and they saw the Elohe of Israel; and there was under _his feet_ as it were a paved work of sapphire; ... and upon the nobles (Moses and the elders) he laid not his _hand:_ ... they saw _the_ Elohim, and did eat and drink." Exod. xxiv. "And Jehovah _descended_ in the cloud and _stood_ with Moses, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. And Jehovah _passed_ by _before him_, and proclaimed, Jehovah, El, merciful and gracious. And Moses said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Adonai, let Adonai, I pray thee, _go_ amongst us, and pardon our iniquity and our sin." Exod. xxxiv. "Melach Jehovah _stood_ in the way for an adversary against Balaam.... Jehovah opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw Melach Jehovah _standing_ in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand." Numb. xxiii. "And Joshua looked, and behold, there _stood_ a _man_ over against him with his sword drawn in his _hand_.... And he said, As captain of the host of Jehovah am I now come.... And the captain of the host of Jehovah _said_ unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy." Josh. v. "Melach Jehovah _came_ up from Gilgal [the place where the ark, the ark of the Adon of all the earth, then rested] to Bochim, and said, _I_ made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land which _I_ gave unto your fathers, and _I said_, I will never break my covenant with you." Judges ii. "Thus saith Jehovah, Elohe of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and _I said_ unto you, I am Jehovah your Elohe." "And Melach Jehovah _came and sat_ under an oak, and said unto Gideon, Jehovah is with thee. And Melach _the_ Elohim _said_ unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes and lay them upon this rock. And Melach Jehovah _put forth_ the end of the staff that was in his _hand_, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes." Judges v. "The _eye_ of Jehovah is upon them that fear him." Ps. xxxiii. 18. "The _eyes_ of Jehovah thy Elohe are always upon it [the land]." Deut. xi. "The _eyes_ of Jehovah are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The _face_ of Jehovah is against them that do evil. Melach Jehovah _encampeth_ round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. They cry, and Jehovah _heareth_ them." Ps. xxxiv. "Melach Jehovah _touched_ Elijah, and said, Arise and eat." 1 Kings xix.
The preceding observations concerning the faculties of angels suggest the relation to their acquisition of knowledge of the visible persons, objects and events within their view on earth, and the congruity of that relation with the visibility of the God-man, Messiah, Mediator, Ruler, and Revealer.
Suppose the celestial hosts, with the visual powers and the freedom from the conditions of distance above intimated, from the moment of their creation in the full maturity of their faculties and of their endowments, except in respect to the knowledge to be derived from the evolution and progress of events, to have seen each other, and the visible objects of their own and other spheres; to have seen, among the earliest of events, the rebellion and dejection from their ranks of an archangel, with numerous adherents, followed by the apostasy and degradation of the progenitors of the human race; and, in connection therewith, to have seen the Personal Word walking in Eden, to have heard his voice, and thenceforth to have observed the acts and events connected with our race. It is plain that if they see and hear in conformity with the same laws as men, and acquire knowledge by so seeing and hearing, then it was necessary to them, as well as to man, that all the agents in the scene should be visible, and that their voices should be audible.
The object, on the occasions referred to, was to instruct and influence, by visible and tangible realities presented to the senses. To suppose some of the agents and acts to have been what they are declared to be, and others to have been illusions, unreal, imaginary, is to defeat the object of them, divest them of all certainty, and justify the same inference with respect to the human as to the celestial agents. In numerous instances it is evident that the power of vision in men was so enlarged, that they beheld objects not ordinarily visible to them. Had that augmented power continued, those objects would have continued to be visible, and so far from being less, would have been more free from illusion and uncertainty; and it is absurd, and contrary to all analogy, to suppose that it did not render their vision as certain, and their inference from it as just, in respect to every person and object apprehended by it, as in respect to any one of them. And if, as in the case of the three who appeared to Abraham, and in other cases, they did not see the persons in the likeness of men whom they are declared to have seen, then we have no ground of certainty that they themselves were present, or acted the parts ascribed to them.
It is observed above that in every instance of the personal manifestation of the Messenger Jehovah under the ancient dispensations, he was distinctly recognized in the likeness of man. On many occasions he is expressly called a man; and in various instances acts peculiar to a man are ascribed to him. Thus, at his appearance to Abraham in the plain of Mamre, to Jacob at Peni-El, to Joshua, to Manoah, to Ezekiel, to Daniel, to Amos, and to Zechariah, he is expressly called a man; in Eden and in the plain of Mamre he walked and spoke as a man; to Moses he spake face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend, and of him it was said, "the similitude of Jehovah shall he behold;" to Balaam, Joshua, and David, he appeared with a drawn sword in his hand; when accepting the offering of Gideon, he put forth the staff that was in his hand, and touched the sacrifice; he "touched Elijah, and said, Arise and eat." Again, in the instances in which it is said that he appeared to Abraham and others, without specifying that his person was visible, and in those in which it is said that he came, or that the Word of the Lord came, to Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, and the prophets, the things said and done are, as to matter and manner, in respect to the persons addressed or spoken of, reference to circumstances of time and place, particularity of directions and details, similar to those in which he visibly appeared as man.
In the minds of the patriarchs and prophets, therefore, the human likeness in which he visibly appeared was intimately and familiarly associated with his person. When they thought of him, they thought of him in that form, and accordingly his visible appearance in that form occasioned little or no surprise. They knew, it may well be believed, from and after the first appearance or announcement of the Messiah in Eden, that human nature and the human form were appointed and essential conditions of his complex official person and his sacerdotal work. Every typical sacrifice, the piacular shedding of blood, the altar typifying the cross, the burnt offering, the paschal lamb, every net of worship founded on the revealed doctrine of mediation, implied this distinctive apprehension of his person as Mediator. To suppose that patriarchs and prophets to whom he appeared in this manner, and whom he inspired to teach others, did not know and recognize him in his true character, is not less derogatory to him than to them; and to suppose that those who earliest offered typical sacrifices did not as truly and adequately understand what belonged to his personal and official character as those who succeeded, is to nullify their worship and their faith, and to treat the system as a device of sinful and ignorant men, rather than as divinely revealed and sanctioned.
But the Divine Mediator being thus clearly and familiarly known from the first beginning of the race, as to the constitution of his complex official person, his delegated character, his sacerdotal and mediatory work; this knowledge being common to all true worshippers, and being illustrated and confirmed to others by local visible appearances of the Personal Word, by oral instructions from inspired men, and by the external institutions, rites and forms of the true worship; it is obvious how, and with what facility, the adverse party, the worshippers of Baal after the deluge, obtained their antagonist counterfeit notions of the incarnation of their rival god, and afterwards of other spiritual beings and disembodied intelligences; of a shekina of visible glory as the residence or tabernacle of Baal; of mediation, oracular responses, altars, sacrifices, incense, &c. To suppose that any one of these things was originally conceived and invented by the natural reason of man, is at once to yield the question between revealed religion and the competency of fallen man to devise one which should obtain the undivided suffrage of nine tenths of the human race from age to age. The utter absurdity of such a supposition is shown by the fact that all the different nations and tribes of idolaters have, from the earliest records and traditions of their history, held essentially the same ideas upon these and kindred subjects. In the history of some countries, indeed, as in that of India, Thibet and China, the notion of the incarnation, and of repeated incarnations, of their false god is more conspicuous than in that of others. But the notion that the shedding of blood would procure the remission of sin, that the piacular sacrifices must be offered on an altar and burnt with fire, that the firstlings of the flock must be sacrificed, and that incense must be burned by consecrated priests, has prevailed among all pagan nations and tribes, with or without letters, in all climates, and in all ages, and if not derived from the descendants of Noah at the dispersion, we must, by ascribing the invention to each distinct community for itself, imagine a greater miracle than that of the inspiration of true prophets.
The revolt of the arch-apostate, with his angels and the head of the human race, was an open renunciation of allegiance to Jehovah as Creator, Lawgiver and Ruler, from which a total and ceaseless alienation and opposition ensued, which, but for his redemptive work, would have subverted and defeated his design as Creator. To counteract and overcome that revolt required his humiliation unto death. Prior to that event, his opposers denied his prerogatives and rights as Creator, Lawgiver and Ruler, and arrogated them for creatures. The antagonist system of rivalship and homage was exhibited in the face of the universe in the forms of political tyranny and idolatry. To reässert and exhibit to the whole universe his claims, after his humiliation, he rose from the grave, ascended on high, was invested with all power in heaven and earth, and in his glorified and visible person as God-man was recognized as swaying the sceptre of universal empire.
His claims and prerogatives as Creator, Upholder and Ruler being thus manifested and established, and the efficacy of his vicarious death being at the same time demonstrated by the conversion and salvation of multitudes from age to age, he will at length return to the earth to consummate his victory over all adversaries, to remove the curse and restore the earth to its primeval state, assume his visible regal sway, and establish his everlasting kingdom.
The union, as appointed and fixed in the order of events, of the Divine and human natures in the Person of the God-man, was a primary condition in the great scheme of Divine works and manifestations. That union is, accordingly, implied in all the designations, whether prophetic or otherwise, of the Anointed, or official Person; the Logos, who was in the beginning; the Christ, who was before all things. On the basis of this union of the second Person of the Godhead with human nature, rendering him capable of subordinate relations and agencies, the works of creation, providence and grace were delegated to him by the Father.
Such a provision in the constitution of his official person, in order to the subordinate relations, delegated agencies, and visible manifestations, involved in his undertaking, would seem manifestly necessary. Apart from that provision, he was in all respects equal with the Father; and in respect to his person, therefore, some special ground of subordination, in order to the delegation to him of such works in such relations with man, and with material and visible things, would seem to be necessary. Again, the works delegated to him, and for which he was sent of the Father, all of them in some relations, and many of them absolutely, implied and required this union of the human nature with his person. Accordingly, in this delegated, subordinate official Person, he was foreordained before the foundation of the world, and had glory with the Father before the world was.
By him and for him, in his official person and delegated character, are all things. By him and for his pleasure they were created. He upholds all things, and by him all things consist.
His undertaking included the works of creation, providence and redemption; the physical and moral government of the world, and the manifestation of the Divine perfections to all intelligent creatures.
In the execution of his undertaking, local and visible manifestations of his person and of his official prerogatives and acts were indispensable, in the relations he was to sustain as Lawgiver and Ruler, Prophet and Priest. His undertaking comprised a succession of acts and dispensations, and of corresponding changes in the manner of his agency, the nature of his manifestations, and the immediate objects of his administration. In these respects the progress of his work is indicated in the revelation he has made in the Holy Scriptures, in which his person and his acts appear, from stage to stage, in different aspects. He speaks of himself, and is spoken of by the inspired writers, sometimes with reference only to his Divine, and at other times with reference only to his human nature. On some occasions acts are ascribed to him which are proper to him only as Divine; and on other occasions such as could be affirmed of him only as human; as in one case, the act of creation, and in the other, the act of walking.
It is in this complex person that he is primarily the object of all our knowledge of the Deity as revealed in the Scriptures. He is the image, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, whom no man hath seen or can see. He in this person hath declared, manifested the Father; no less under the earliest, than under the present dispensation.
Accordingly, though distinguished by Moses in the beginning of his narrative by designations which specially relate to the Divine nature in his person, acts are ascribed to him which denote his complex official person; such as walking in the garden of Eden, and conversing face to face with Adam. As his official work is in Scripture referred to as one comprehensive undertaking, though involving a long succession of acts and events, so his official person is ever referred to as the same, though in the succession many events preceded that of his taking man's nature into union with that person. By appointment and covenant, virtually and officially he was the same from the beginning; and on that ground, and because his expiatory death in man's nature was essential to his undertaking as a whole, and its effect as necessary to the earliest as to any succeeding portion of man's race, he is spoken of as "slain from the foundation of the world."
Had no apostasy of man taken place, we are warranted in believing that he would have continued that local, visible presence and intercourse with Adam and his descendants which characterized the earliest period of their existence. For as Creator of all things he was the Heir and Lord of all, and would have been Lawgiver and King of the race, the medium of their relations to God and of their homage, as he is to be hereafter at the restitution of all things to their primeval condition, when all the evil consequences of the fall shall have been superseded, death itself destroyed, and the earth delivered from the curse and restored to its original perfection.
But no such course of things could have been possible had the earth, at the epoch of man's creation, been in its present imperfect condition, the scene of disease and death. Nor can there, if it was at the outset so imperfect and so fraught with physical evils, be a restoration of it hereafter to its pristine state. If it is to be renovated, remodelled, new-made, it is because it has been degraded from its primeval condition. If it is to be restored by the instrumentality of fire, that is to happen as the counterpart of its destruction by water. If its renovation is to be one of the consequences and concomitants of his perfect triumph over the evils of the apostasy, its subjection to its present state is no less certainly a consequence of the apostasy.
In view of this scheme and course of administration, we may perhaps discern some of the reasons why this earth and the human race were selected.
We may suppose that of all the orders of intelligent creatures, man, with his material body, is the least exalted, and for that reason, in such a course of manifestation to all orders, alliance with his nature would be selected.
The visibility required in such a scheme would require union with a visible body.
So far as we have reason to conclude, no other race of intelligent creatures is multiplied by succession. That peculiarity of the human race rendered it practicable for the Creator to take the human nature into union with his person; and it likewise allows of a perpetual increase of the subjects of his grace and of his kingdom, after the ruins of the fall shall have been overcome, and the sovereignty of the rest of the universe, preserved and confirmed in holiness, shall have been surrendered to the Father.
Probably the preservation of the rest of the universe from defection is among the results of his expiation of sin, his ascension incarnate to heaven, his reign there till his second advent, and his victory over Satan and all opposition. That being accomplished, he resumes and prosecutes his original purpose as visible Head and King of the human race.
Of the official Person and Relations of the Messiah.
The term Jehovah, though employed interchangeably with the other Divine designations, is in one respect peculiar. It is never used with reference to any other than the Divine Being. Hence it is by many regarded as a proper name. It is however replaced in the New Testament by an appellative.
Gesenius, who regards this as a proper name, and the word Elohim as an appellative, refers to the "Seventy" as uniformly prefixing the definite article to the word which they substitute for Jehovah; making the version, as in the English, _The_ Lord. He considers the formulas, "I shall be what I am," and "which is, and which was, and which is to come," as expressing the meaning of this name, by which the being designated was to be distinctively recognized, remembered, and acknowledged for ever, according to the declarations: "This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations;" and "this is my name for ever: so shall ye name me throughout all generations."
But, as has been shown, this name is employed both separately and conjointly, with strictly official designations, to identify the second Person of the Trinity in his delegated character and work; who in the New Testament is announced as Jehovah, Immanu-El, Jesus, the Christ.
The subsistence of three distinct coëqual Persons in the Godhead is eternal. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are, as persons, coëternal, coëqual, and alike infinitely removed from all possibility of change. Whatever change has taken place with respect to them must therefore be merely relative, and have reference to their respective agencies, and to the works of creation, providence, and grace. They are accordingly revealed to us in connection with those works, and in the relations which they sustain to them, and to each other in connection with them; and pursuant to the economy or covenant in which those relations and works are founded, the designations by which they are respectively made known are _official_ designations, or employed with a personal and official reference. The Father is first, the fountain of authority, and delegates the Son. The Son is second, and is subordinate to the Father. The Holy Spirit is third, and is subordinate to the Father and the Son. The Father sends the Son to accomplish the works assigned to him. The Son reveals the Father, and executes his will. The Holy Spirit does the will of the Father and the Son. It is in these relations that the respective Persons are worshipped, and not jointly or in unity. The Father is worshipped through the Son as the medium of access and homage. The Father and Son respectively are worshipped through the gracious indwelling influence of the Holy Spirit.
These relations of the respective Persons are therefore official, and must be referred to as originating in the covenant, in which the whole scheme of agency and manifestation in the works of creation, providence, and redemption, was founded. No such relations are to be conceived of as existing eternally; for in their nature the respective Persons are coëqual. Subordination must have been voluntarily assumed for special purposes and agencies which required it. When creatures were to be brought into existence, relations not previously existing were requisite; and as those relations to creatures required various agencies of the respective Persons, new relations between them were requisite; and these, being founded in compact, are properly termed _official_. Accordingly, all Divine acts towards creatures are personal acts of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. They act not as a unity in respect to creatures.
Hence all the acts of the Son in the works of creation, providence, and redemption, are ascribed to him in one and the same official Person and delegated character, by whatever designations he may, in relation to those works, be referred to; and it was accordingly in that character that he appeared personally and visibly in the ancient dispensations; assumed the human form, walked, conversed, and performed various actions proper only to one in that form. The nature of his delegated undertaking, and the objects of those dispensations, required such local manifestations of his person and visible agency, and also that he should speak to and of himself in the different aspects in which he then appeared, and in which he exercised his prophetic office, in relation to his future coming and his sacerdotal work. Thus he speaks of himself as the Seed of the Woman, the Son of David, the King, the Saviour, the Anointed, the Messenger, the Redeemer, the Holy One, the Branch, the Shepherd, Immanuel.
This may be illustrated by referring to the New Testament, and considering that the Divine and human natures being united in the Person of the incarnate Word, whatever is true of either of those natures in that union, is affirmed of him as a Person; and for aught that appears, whatever is affirmed of his Divine nature in that Person is affirmed of him in his official character, whether with reference to his preëxistent or to his incarnate state. Many things are said of him which are predicable of his human nature only, but which nevertheless could not be said if he was not both God and man in one Person. Thus it is said, that he died for our sins--and that he rose for our justification. Other things are said of the same Person, which are predicable only of his Divine Nature; as that he came down from heaven, that he came forth from God, and that he was in the beginning. Hence the propriety with which in both the Old and New Testaments the various Divine names and titles are applied to him, to designate the One Anointed, delegated--Person.
Since writing this work, the author has read the treatise of Dr. Isaac Watts, entitled, "The Glory of Christ as God-Man," in which he describes the visible appearances of Christ before his incarnation, inquires into the extensive powers of his human nature in its present glorified state, and endeavors to explain and illustrate the Scriptures which relate to those appearances, and to the Person who under various divine names and official designations visibly appeared, by supposing that the human soul of Christ was created prior to the creation of the world, and thenceforth, being united to the Second Person of the Godhead, appeared and acted, visibly and otherwise, in all that related to this world. There being no question but that the mediatorial Person created the world, appeared visibly, and conducted the administration of the Old Testament dispensations, there is, as might be anticipated, a degree of plausibility in the reasonings and illustrations of this venerated author. But many grave and unanswerable objections to his peculiar views present themselves. It is not perceived that the supposition of the preëxistence of the human soul of Christ is either sustained by the Scriptures, or has in any respect, as a means of explanation, any advantage as compared with the view taken in this work, viz: that, pursuant to a covenant between the Persons of the Godhead, the Second Person assumed the official character and relations which are peculiar to him as Mediator; those, viz: in which he executed the works of creation and providence, and manifested himself under various Divine names and official designations, as Jehovah, Elohim, the Messenger, the Messiah; the official personal actor and revealer. To his Person in this official character and agency the human nature was in due time united, so as to include two natures in his one Person. But since the delegated official Person, into union with which the human nature was taken, preëxisted, and as a Person was the same before as after the incarnation, the acts of that Person in the delegated official character and relations above referred to, were to the same effect, and involved essentially the same conditions before as after the advent. Since he undoubtedly acted as Mediator in the ancient dispensations, we must, in reference to his agency then, ascribe to him what peculiarly constituted and ever preëminently distinguishes that character, viz: its being the delegated official character of a Divine Person. Regarded in that light, there seems no more difficulty in ascribing visible appearances and other acts suitable to his office in his relations to men, prior to the assumption of human nature into union with his Person, than after that union. The relations of his Person, in his delegated official character, to creatures and material things, were the result, not of the incarnation, nor of any occurrence after the commencement of his delegated, subordinate, mediatorial work, but of his appointment to that work, and must be regarded as coëval with that appointment. They were the relations of the official, mediatorial Person; and for aught that appears or is conceivable, rendered visible personal appearances in the likeness of man, and the performance of acts, utterance of words, &c., like those of man, as practicable before as after the addition of human nature to that Person.
The views advanced by Dr. Watts proceed upon the assumption that two distinct _persons_ were united; whereas it was two distinct _natures_ that were united in one Person. That Person existed before the human nature was added to it. The nature added had no separate or distinct personality. It became part of the preëxisting Person. "He took it to be his own nature, ... causing it to subsist in his own Person," says Owen. The Logos, the personal Word or Revealer, the delegated Official Person or Mediator, who "was in the beginning and was God, was made flesh and dwelt among us." John i. "He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Heb. ii. 16. "He did not assume a nature from angels, but he assumed a nature from the seed of Abraham." Syriac Text. "The Lord Jesus Christ is God and man in one person. For there is supposed in these words (Heb. i. 16) his preëxistence in another nature than that which he is said here to assume. He subsisted before, else he could not have taken on him what he had not before. Gal. iv. 4; John i. 14; Tim. iii. 16; Phil. ii. 6, 7. That is, ... the Word of God ... became incarnate. He took to himself another nature, of the seed of Abraham according to the promise; so, continuing what he was, he became what he was not; for he took this to be his own nature ... by taking that nature into personal subsistence with himself, in the hypostasis [substance or subsistence] of the Son of God; seeing the nature he assumed could no otherwise become his. For if he had by any ways or means taken the person of a man in the strictest union that two persons are capable of, in that case the nature had still been the nature of that other person, and not his own. But he took it to be his own nature, which, therefore, must be by a personal union, causing it to subsist in his own person.... This is done without a multiplication of persons in him; for the human nature can have no personality of its own, because it was taken to be the nature of another person who was preëxistent to it, and by assuming it, prevented its proper personality." (Owen on the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. ii. 16.)
"Christ is the Jehovah whose dominion is proclaimed, [Psalm xcvii.,] who is declared to be the God whom men and angels are bound to serve and worship. Such is He who for our deliverance condescended to assume our nature.... For thus it seems the matter stood in the counsels of Eternal Wisdom: It behooved Him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining unto God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Horsley's Sermon on the 97th Psalm.) That is: It behooved Him, the Christ, Jehovah in the preëxisting official Person, to assume our nature.
Local and visible Manifestations, Intercourse and Instructions as characterizing the primeval and Mosaic Dispensations--Local Presence of the Messenger Jehovah in the Tabernacle.
It being evident that the Messiah appeared to the patriarchs in a visible form, that they recognized him under various designations, saw him face to face, conversed with him, offered to him burnt offerings and prayers, believed in him with that faith which is unto righteousness, received from him revelations, promises, and covenants, and in all the aspects and relations in which he appeared, regarded him as their God and the God of providence and grace, their Creator, Preserver, Lawgiver, and Ruler, it is safe to conclude that this method of personal and visible manifestation and intercourse was a primary and essential characteristic of that dispensation. If the instances of such personal appearance and intercourse in which minute details are recorded, as in that to Abraham in the plain of Mamre, and that to Jacob at Peni-El, are not greatly multiplied, they are yet sufficiently numerous, considered in connection with the occasions, circumstances and expressions by which other instances are distinguished, to warrant us in supposing the frequent occurrence of like manifestations to the same individuals, and to many others of whose personal history no extended details are recorded, and many others of whom nothing, or nothing except their names, is mentioned. Moreover, when Moses wrote, such visible manifestations were familiar to the Israelites, and in his retrospective history no more required to be specially mentioned, except as incidents interwoven with, and inseparable from, the personal narratives of the past, than full details respecting sacrificial offerings, their typical references, the law of the Sabbath, and other matters, which were in like manner familiar, and constituted the essential elements of their religious system.
There is ground to conclude that this mode of manifestation was coëval with the creation; and that, if there had been no apostasy of man, He "for whom are all things, and by whom are all things," would have continued visibly and constantly present with the race on earth, as he will be after he shall have destroyed the last enemy, and obviated the consequences of the fall. At that predicted restitution, a condition of things like that which preceded the defection is to be realized; when he is to dwell with men--their God.
The New Testament clearly ascertains to us that he was personally the Creator. The style and manner in which he spoke and acted, as recorded by Moses in his account of the creation, and in his primeval intercourse with Adam, coincides in familiarity, and may be described as homogeneous, with that employed on occasions of his visible manifestations to Abraham, Jacob, and others. When he said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," it may well be presumed that, among other things, he had reference to that visible form in which he was thenceforth frequently recognized, and in which he at length became incarnate, and will hereafter be seen by every eye.
As instances of the appropriateness of what he said to a person locally present, and speaking and acting as a man would naturally do, the following are referred to: "He _saw_ every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. And on the seventh day, having ended his work, he _rested_, and blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had _rested_ from all his work which Elohim created and made." Such references to time and place imply an actor having coincident relations. Again, "He planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed, and commanded him, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." After the transgression, the same local references, and the like familiarity, and implication of his personal presence, are continued: "And they heard the voice"--according to Owen and others, the WORD--"of Jehovah Elohim, _walking_ in the garden; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from _the presence_"--literally, _the face_--"of Jehovah Elohim, amongst the trees of the garden. And Jehovah Elohim called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice, and I was afraid, and I hid myself." These passages seem to be demonstrative of the local personal presence of the Divine speaker, as clearly as of that of the guilty couple. They heard him in the garden, and to avoid meeting or being met by him, they hid themselves among the trees. This would have been to no purpose, had he not been locally, but only spiritually present. They heard him walking, and having retreated to a covert for concealment, he called to Adam; acts which, in a plain, literal narrative, imply a local personal presence.
If on this occasion, when the delinquent parties were successively arraigned and questioned, and the sentence of condemnation was pronounced in words addressed personally to each, he was locally present, the otherwise seeming paradox, that the same style and manner of address to the subtle adversary should be employed as to Adam, disappears. So the words addressed to Cain can hardly be thought to have been literally spoken, but upon the supposition that the Divine speaker was locally present, and that his presence was matter of previous and familiar recognition to Cain. A like inference may be made from the statement that Elohim came to Abimelech, and spake to him in a dream, and from his address to Jehovah, Gen. xx.; and also from the statement that Elohim came to Laban in a dream, and his mention of the fact, and of the caution he renewed to Jacob, Gen. xxxi.
Nor is there in any respect any thing improbable in the supposition that he was locally and visibly present in the likeness of man at that period, any more than at subsequent periods. On the contrary, the statement (John i. 1) that the WORD--the delegated Person who in due time assumed our nature and was visibly on earth--_was_ in the beginning, and created all things, implies that he was then recognized in his official character, which implies relations and acts of which place and visibility were indispensable conditions. Such must undoubtedly have been the case when he was seen, if not uniformly when his voice was heard. He may have been often locally present when, though heard, he was not seen. Such, with respect to Daniel's companions, was the case in his vision, chap. x. He saw one in the form of man, whose face was as the appearance of lightning, and heard his words; but the men that were with him saw not the vision. And when Paul saw his person so unequivocally as to constitute him a witness of his resurrection, the men accompanying him heard his voice, but saw him not. When it is simply said that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or others, and the narrative proceeds to relate what he said, and what answers were made, the language plainly implies his local personal presence, though no mention is made of his being seen. The occasions and objects of his appearance in such instances were, so far as we can judge, as important and as appropriate to such local and visible manifestations, as those in relation to which it is expressly recorded that he was seen in the likeness of man.
The primeval and Levitical dispensations were specially characterized by visible manifestations, acts, rites and events, embodying, enforcing, and illustrating the great truths which were revealed. Thus, on the part of man, the first prohibition enjoined upon Adam, besides its reference to his will, had relation to an external and visible act, and an external and visible object, the fruit of a particular tree. The ritual of worship prescribing, among other offerings, that of slaughtered animals on an altar, the observance of the Sabbath, the long list of fasts, feasts, convocations, ordinances, rites and ceremonies, and most of the injunctions and prohibitions of the moral law, had respect to outward and visible acts. And on the other hand, the Divine Lawgiver and Ruler manifested himself visibly, announced his revelations and commands in audible words, distinguished the righteous generally by outward prosperity, long life, and numerous descendants, and the wicked by opposite evils, or by special calamities and judgments manifest to public observation. By this method, the personality, the attributes and perfections, the prerogatives and rights, the holiness, faithfulness, mercy and truth of Jehovah, were not only exhibited to the view of all intelligent creatures, fallen and unfallen, but were exhibited in such relations to accountable creatures, in their various circumstances, and in their connections with laws, covenants, promises, and predictions, as to lead unmistakably to a right apprehension of them, and a right apprehension of the conduct of men in view of them; results which, so far as we can judge, could have been produced in no other way, unless by endowing creatures with omniscience, or with plenary inspiration. For, from their nature as created, finite and dependent agents, their thoughts, apprehensions and inferences are successive, and all the knowledge of external things which they acquire otherwise than by inspiration, they acquire by means of their external senses; seeing visible objects, hearing audible sounds, &c. Those to whom these divine manifestations, personal, visible, and audible, were first made, had no prototypes, precedents or analogies, to assist them in gaining right apprehensions, and deducing just conclusions, had the method of instruction been that merely of announcements, from an invisible source, of abstract propositions. But by the method actually adopted, prototypes, precedents and analogies were furnished, which, being recorded in the relations and historical connections in which they occurred and were observed, serve effectually for the instruction of those to whom similar outward and visible manifestations are not vouchsafed.
On the other hand, by the method taken, the nature, deserts, and consequences of sin were unmistakably shown, by its being embodied and publicly exhibited in visible acts and their consequences. Thus the transgression of Adam, regarded in its connection with the prohibition which had been emphatically enjoined, with his arraignment, and the sentence pronounced upon him, and with his expulsion from Eden, and the curse and blight visibly produced upon the earth on which he was doomed to toil for a subsistence, and at length to decline and die, furnished illustrations of the indescribable turpitude of his apostasy, and of the moral and physical evils that were among its just and legitimate consequences, which neither then nor now could be conveyed in an abstract statement. So the hypocrisy, envy, infidelity, and malignity of Cain, regarded in connection with the knowledge he had of the consequences of Adam's transgression, and of the laws, obligations, and duties which were binding upon him; and in connection with the remorse visibly depicted on his countenance, his expulsion from the accustomed place of worship and of intercourse with Jehovah, and the spectacle he was to exhibit as a fugitive and a vagabond, despised and shunned as an outcast, for whom the earth, in respect to his tillage of it, was specially cursed and blighted; furnished, to the view of all intelligent observers, lessons and illustrations which could in no other conceivable way have been exhibited.
The like may be observed concerning the spectacle of violence and corruption which all but universally prevailed before the deluge, and on account of which that exterminating judgment upon the race, with its visible accompaniments and its physical effects upon the earth itself and its irrational inhabitants, was, in the view of the whole universe of accountable creatures, specially and judicially inflicted. Also, concerning the notorious and awful wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the exterminating retribution visited upon them, making them a public and perpetual example. And, omitting to specify less conspicuous and individual instances to the like effect in the history of the patriarchs, or that of the treatment of the Israelites in Egypt, and its counterpart in the plagues which ensued, or any of later date, it is manifest that this method of manifestation, instruction, warning, and reproof, was characteristic of those early times.
If now, in conformity with "the unanimous opinion of the ancient Church," we consider that He who in his delegated character is, in Moses and the prophets, designated by all the Divine names and titles, and specially, among his peculiar official titles, by that of the Messenger Jehovah, "was the mediator in all the relations of God to the people," and, as expressed by Hengstenberg; from the beginning constantly filled up the infinite distance between the Creator and the creation, and was in all ages the Light of the world, and Mediator in all the relations of God to the human race, then his early method of local, personal, and visible manifestations, interpositions, and instructions, is obviously in keeping with that exhibited during his subsequent sojourn on earth, and so accordant with the nature and ends of his official character and its relations and objects, as to imply that the present dispensation is an exception, to be succeeded by one of renewed and more glorious, impressive, and instructive visibility than that of Paradise, when all his prior administrations and agencies will be completely vindicated, every eye will see him, and every tongue confess that he is Jehovah, to the glory of God the Father.
The foregoing observations may be further illustrated by reference to the tabernacle as the local residence of the Messenger Jehovah, and as in some respects typical.
The pattern of the tabernacle which was shown to Moses in the mount, was a representation to him of the person and work of the Mediator as Priest and King in human nature, which he was required to represent to the children of Israel by the visible structure which he was to erect. The _true_ tabernacle, of which this was the figure, was his human nature, in which his sacrifice, intercession, and regal glory were to be realized.
The tabernacle, with its furniture and services, signified to the worshippers the leading truths concerning the person, offices, mediation, incarnation, sacrifice, intercession, and final glory and reign of Christ. It taught these truths by means of visible signs--figures intended to serve that purpose till Christ should come, and in human nature, the true tabernacle, make atonement by shedding his own blood, and openly manifesting the way of reconciliation and access to God through him.
This way into "the holiest of all," _i. e._, heaven itself was not to be openly and completely manifested, but only as was practicable through these visible signs and teachings, during the continuance of the tabernacle erected by Moses, and afterwards placed in the first temple, as a figure of the true; but the coming of Christ in the true tabernacle, his human nature, to offer himself a sacrifice, would fulfil and make manifest the things signified in the figure. The tabernacle signified that he would become literally incarnate; but by the actual exhibition of his person in human nature, all obscurity and doubt would be removed.
The tabernacle, as a figure of his incarnate person, included, in the sanctuary within the veil, the golden altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, and the mercy-seat, which was the throne; and in the other apartment, the altar of burnt offering, the show-bread, the candlestick, &c., answering to the offices and benefits of Him who was both priest and sacrifice, altar and mercy-seat.
That they had an ark and tent answerable essentially to the tabernacle anterior to that erected in the wilderness, is implied in several passages. Thus, Exod. xxxiii., before the gifts had been received for the new structure, "Moses took _the tabernacle_ and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp; ... and as Moses entered into _the tabernacle_, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and talked [see Heb.] with Moses." Again, Exod. xvi., on the first dispensation of manna, Aaron is directed to "Take a pot and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up _before Jehovah_, to be kept for your generations. So Aaron laid it up before the testimony, to be kept:" that is, probably, in the _tent_ or place where the Shekina dwelt, as afterwards in the tabernacle at Shiloh and Mizpeh, prior to the erection of the temple. The same thing may be implied in the words of the Philistines when the Israelites brought the ark of the covenant into their camp: "The Philistines were afraid, for they said, Elohim is come into the camp. Woe unto us!... this is _the_ Elohim that smote the Egyptians." 1 Sam. iv. As if, in the information they had received concerning the plagues of Egypt, the presence of _the_ Elohim was associated with a tent or _tabernacle_, and the ark of the covenant. That there was such a place of Divine manifestation among the Israelites during their sojourn in Egypt and at the legation of Moses, is in the highest degree probable, since the true faith and worship were preserved; and probably it was to that place that Moses, in the progress of his controversy with Pharaoh, often repaired for direction and authority. And Moses returned unto Jehovah, and said, "Adonai, wherefore," &c. Exod. v. "And Moses spake _before_ Jehovah...." "And Moses said _before_ Jehovah." vi. "And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated Jehovah." viii. "And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, [perhaps from the district of the Egyptians to that of the Israelites,] and spread abroad his hands unto Jehovah." ix. The same word (Sheken or Shekina) which is employed to signify that Jehovah _dwelt_ in the pillar of cloud and of fire, and in the tabernacle between the cherubim, is employed also Gen. iii. 24, which may read, "He caused the cherubim to _dwell_ at the east of the garden of Eden," _i. e._, as in a tent or covering, a tabernacle, or column of cloud or fire.
Doubtless Moses previously understood the true doctrine concerning the person, mediation, and sacrifice of the Divine Mediator; but to qualify him to teach this doctrine and to enforce the duties connected with it, an exhibition was made to him of that Person in the form in which he was to make atonement by the sacrifice of himself. On the occasion of receiving instruction concerning the tabernacle, being called up into the mount, he, with Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders, saw the Elohe of Israel, in the likeness of the God-man, as appears from the allusion to his person, and what took place. "There was under _his feet_ as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone.... Upon the nobles he laid not _his hand_.... They saw (_the_) Elohim, and did eat and drink." They evidently saw his person in the form in which he was to execute the priestly office, and which was to be foreshown by the tabernacle. No man hath seen the Father. But Moses saw (_the_) Elohim, the Elohe of Israel, Jehovah, the Messenger, the God-man. On another occasion Jehovah came down and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and said, "With Moses will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of Jehovah shall he behold." Numb. i. He appeared in the form of man to Abraham, Jacob, and others, with no accompaniment of visible glory. Isaiah saw him, the King, Jehovah Zebaoth, _seated_ on a throne; Ezekiel, in the likeness of a man on a throne, John, as the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to his feet.
After this manifestation to the leaders and elders of Israel, Moses went alone into the midst of the cloud on the mount, and remained there forty days, receiving instructions for himself and the people concerning the tabernacle. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering, &c.; ... and let them make me a sanctuary, that _I may dwell among them_. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." This perfect model, by an imitation of which he was to represent the incarnate person and sacerdotal work of Christ, was shown to him in the mount. No doubt a visible pattern of the tabernacle and its instruments was shown to him. That it was not a mental vision, or a verbal description merely, by which he was instructed, is clearly indicated by the phraseology above quoted from Exod. xxv. 9: "According to all that I show thee;" more strictly, "According to all that I make thee to see."
Again, after a variety of directions concerning the table for the show-bread, the candlestick, and other articles of furniture, Jehovah said to Moses, "Look that thou make them after _their pattern_ which was showed thee in the mount." Exod. xxv. 40, and xxvi. 30. "Thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to _the fashion thereof_ which was showed thee in the mount." And relating to the altar of burnt offerings: "Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shalt thou make it." xxvii. 8. Again, at the dedication of the tabernacle it is said, "According unto the pattern which Jehovah had showed Moses, so he made the candlestick." Numb. viii. 4.
This phraseology, accompanied as it is by minute verbal descriptions of the several objects, still refers to something more definite; a form, model, pattern, which he was strictly to imitate. The purposes to be answered required perfect accuracy in the copy. And hence the apostle, Heb. viii. 5, alluding to this scene, says: "Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount."
This construction is confirmed by a portion of subsequent history. When Solomon was about "to build an house for the sanctuary," David, instructed by Divine inspiration in respect to the forms of different parts of the edifice, caused patterns or models thereof to be constructed for the guidance of his son. "Then David gave to Solomon the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat; and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of Jehovah, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of Elohim, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things." 1 Chron. xxviii. In these services no discretion was left either to Moses or to Solomon. The things to be made were to be made in exact imitation of the patterns furnished.
If we suppose that Moses beheld the person of the Mediator in the likeness of man, and at the same time beheld the model of the tabernacle and its furniture, by a copy of which he was visibly to prefigure and represent the human nature and the official works of Christ, then the structure erected by him, with the throne, the altar, and all the instruments and rites of the Levitical service, will appear in the highest degree fitted to instruct the people in the great truths concerning his kingly and priestly offices. His consecration of the most holy apartment as his dwelling-place, answerable, as the place of his intercession and of his mediatorial throne to that in which he was to appear after his incarnation and ascension, will be intelligible; and the fact that there he reigned as King, dictated laws, and administered the Theocracy, and that he was on subsequent occasions soon in connection with the visible form and accompaniments of the tabernacle, by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and others, and lastly by John after his ascension, will appear consistent with all that is made known to us of his mediatorial agency and visible manifestations under the primeval, patriarchal, and Mosaic dispensations. During those dispensations he as truly officiated as Mediator as after the full realization of what the tabernacle prefigured; exercised the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and dwelt personally in the holy place of the tabernacle after that was prepared, till he formally forsook and withdrew from it, prior to the destruction of the first temple. His office and relations, as civil head and ruler of the nation, implied his personal presence. That, as their civil ruler, he was King in the same sense as other kingly rulers, appears from what is said when, through unbelief and desire of a leader and judge who should be always visible, they sinfully demanded a king from among themselves, like the kings of other nations: "Ye said, A king shall reign over us, when Jehovah your Elohe was your king." 1 Sam. xii. 13.
From the oracle, the cover of the mercy-seat in the holy place within the veil, as one ever present, he spoke to Moses, dictated the laws which are recorded after the erection of the tabernacle, and gave responses to the high priest on special occasions, whenever appealed to, not only during the ministry of Moses, but afterwards. And it is to be noticed that, as there were during the earlier dispensations certain localities appropriated to Divine worship, where altars were erected to Jehovah and typical sacrifices offered, and Divine manifestations and revelations were vouchsafed; so, after the tabernacle was set up, and also after it was transferred to the temple, it was the place resorted to for oracular responses as well as for sacrifices of burnt offering. On the occasion of the war with Benjamin, "the children of Israel, and all the people, went up and came unto the house of Elohim, and wept, and sat there _before_ Jehovah, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Jehovah. And the children of Israel inquired of Jehovah, (for the ark of the covenant of [_the_] Elohim was there in those days, and Phinehas the son of Aaron stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle? &c.... And Jehovah said, Go up," &c. Judges xx. Thence, in the days of Eli, Jehovah spoke to Samuel 1 Sam. iii. See also Joshua vii. 6; 1 Chron. xxi. 30; 2 Sam. xxii. 7; Psalm xviii. 6; xxvii. 4; Isaiah lxvi. 6.
Now, the tabernacle was erected expressly to be the dwelling-place of Jehovah as Mediator, "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." Exod. xxv. 28, "Thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shall put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." xxv. 21, 22. "There I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.... And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God, and they shall know that I am Jehovah their Elohe, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them." xxix. 43, 45, 46. The tabernacle in the wilderness had its station in the midst of the camps; from the precincts of which all lepers were to be excluded, "that they defile not their camps in the midst whereof I dwell." Numb. v. 3. So no satisfaction might be taken for the life of a murderer in the land of Canaan; for blood defiled the land, and it could not be cleansed "but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I Jehovah dwell among the children of Israel." Numb. xxxv. 34. Accordingly we read that "the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle.... The cloud of Jehovah was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys." Exod. xl. 34, 38.
All this phraseology plainly indicates the local presence of the Personal Word; as plainly as the records of his visible presence on any occasions. Various other scriptures confirm this. When king David said to Nathan, "See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains," Nathan was directed to "Go and tell David, Thus saith Jehovah, Shalt thou build me an house to dwell in? Whereas I have not _dwelt in any house_ since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day; but have _walked in a tent and in a tabernacle_." To this follow allusions to his dealings with David, and promises concerning the future. "Then went king David in [_i. e._ into the tabernacle] and sat _before Jehovah_, ... and made acknowledgments, thanksgivings, and prayers to Jehovah Zebaoth, the Elohe of Israel." 2 Sam, vii.
It is thus manifest that the tabernacle was intended as the residence of the official Person, and with reference to his official works; and being a figure of his human nature, he dwelt in it, and exercised his prophetic, regal, and priestly offices in it, as he was to do afterwards when literally incarnate. If it represented his human nature, then doubtless he dwelt in it and if he dwelt in it in any sense answerable to his subsequent dwelling in the human nature, then he dwelt in it locally and personally. The services performed there accordingly imply and confirm this view. There was a shedding of blood, the blood of the covenant, which has flowed in every age, through which remission of sin was granted. See Levit. xvii. 2; Heb. ix. 22.
No atonement could be made but by sacrificial blood-shedding; and if the shedding and sprinkling of blood in the tabernacle service prefigured the true atonement, then it referred to the incarnate Word; and if he was in any manner in the holy place, he must have dwelt there in the person and likeness in which he appeared when visible. If any Divine Person was present in the tabernacle, it must have been the Mediator in his official capacity. For to suppose it to have been the Father, is to suppose that in the Levitical services there was in the minds of the worshippers no recognition of the Mediator.
Accordingly, when he visibly appeared incarnate among men, he spoke of the temple as representing his body. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.... But he spake of the temple of his body." John ii. 19, 21. And John, describing the Messiah as he appeared visibly incarnate, says the WORD was God--was in the beginning--created all things. "The WORD became flesh and dwelt [literally, tabernacled] among us, and we beheld his glory." John i. See also the Epistle to the Hebrews, especially chap. viii-x., where the Mosaic tabernacle of witness, as it is called in Numbers and Acts vii., is in all its essential characteristics and objects contrasted with the person and office-work of Christ as he appeared incarnate,--"a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, [his human nature,] which the Lord pitched and not man,"--in fulfilment of the things signified and prefigured in the tabernacle of witness, "which was a figure for the time then present." "But Christ being come, ... by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, ... by his own blood entered once into the holy place, [heaven as prefigured by the holy of holies within the veil,] having obtained eternal redemption for us;" _i. e._, by the offering of his own blood as an atoning sacrifice for sin, as prefigured by the sacrificial shedding of blood in the Levitical service and the patriarchal worship. "He entered not, when he offered himself a sacrifice, into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself. Nor yet did he offer himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others, but now once at the end of the Levitical economy, he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." After he had once offered himself a sacrifice for sin, he ascended, and "sat down on the right hand of God, thenceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living [life-giving] way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith."
The foregoing observations and references show, in some degree, how Moses and his inspired successors wrote of the Messiah.
Of the Chaldee Paraphrasts--Their method of designating the Personal WORD or Revealer--Occasion and Necessity of it.
He who, in the primeval dispensation, was, in his official character, distinctively announced as the Messenger Jehovah, and the Messenger Elohim, is, in the same character, no less distinctively announced, on his visible appearance incarnate, as the Word. And, taking the words, John i. 1, last clause, in the order in which they occur in the original, "God (Elohim) was the Word," He, in that character, is declared to be the Creator. "All things were made by him." "By him"--referred to as the Son, and as the image of the invisible God, in whom we have redemption through his blood--"were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible." Col. i. These designations and ascriptions undoubtedly identify him in respect to his person, and his official character, with Elohim, who (Gen. i.) in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.
But the designation translated Word--a term employed in the abstract for the concrete, as light for the enlightener, life for life-giver, Logos, or Word, for revealer--has a counterpart, of like personal and official significance, in the Hebrew Scriptures, which was recognized by the ancient Jewish church, and by the Chaldee paraphrasts; and which, in a Chaldee form, the latter in their paraphrases inserted in numerous instances before the Divine names, where they understood them to indicate the official delegated Person, and where the context did not necessarily convey that meaning.
"The Chaldee paraphrases," says Prideaux, "are translations of the Scriptures of the Old Testament made directly from the Hebrew text into the language of the Chaldeans; which language was anciently used through all Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. These paraphrases are called _Targums_, because they were versions or translations of the Hebrew text into this language. These Targums were made for the use and instruction of the vulgar Jews, after their return from the Babylonish captivity. For although many of the better sort still retained the knowledge of the Hebrew language during that captivity, and taught it their children; and the Holy Scriptures that were delivered after that time, excepting only some parts of Daniel and Ezra, and one verse in Jeremiah, were all written therein; yet the common people, by having so long conversed with the Babylonians, learned their language and forgot their own. It happened indeed otherwise to the children of Israel in Egypt. For although they lived there above three times as long as the Babylonish captivity lasted, yet they still preserved the Hebrew language among them, and brought it back entire with them into Canaan. The reason of this was, in Egypt they all lived together in the land of Goshen; but on their being carried captive by the Babylonians, they were dispersed all over Chaldea and Assyria, and being there intermixed with the people of the land, had their main converse with them, and therefore were forced to learn their language, and this soon induced a disuse of their own among them; by which means it came to pass, that after their return, the common people, especially those of them who had been bred up in that captivity, understood not the Holy Scriptures in the Hebrew language, nor their posterity after them. And therefore when Ezra read the law to the people, (Neh. viii.,) he had several persons standing by him well skilled in both the Chaldee and the Hebrew languages, who interpreted to the people in Chaldee what he first read to them in Hebrew. And afterwards, when the method was established of dividing the law into fifty-four sections, and of reading one of them every week in their synagogues, (as hath been already described,) the same course of reading to the people the Hebrew text first, and then interpreting it to them in Chaldee, was still continued. For when the reader had read one verse in Hebrew, an interpreter standing by did render it in Chaldee; and then the next verse being read in Hebrew, it was in like manner interpreted in the same language as before; and so on from verse to verse, was every verse alternatively read, first in Hebrew and then interpreted in Chaldee, to the end of the section; and this first gave occasion for the making of Chaldee versions for the help of these interpreters. And they thenceforth became necessary not only for their help in the public synagogues, but also for the help of the people at home in their families, that they might there have the Scriptures for their private reading in a language which they understood."
After further showing how this practice was perpetuated in the public services of the synagogues, first in respect to the law, and afterwards in respect to the prophetic and other Scriptures; and that as copies of the Scriptures both for public and private use were multiplied, and the number of synagogues increased, the Chaldee version was reduced to writing, and read alternately with the Hebrew, and finally, as he supposes was done in the time of our Saviour, read without and in place of the Hebrew, he proceeds to describe the several Targums which have come down to the present time. Of these, the two which are most esteemed are those of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, and Jonathan on the Prophets, which are supposed to have been copied or essentially derived by them from the earlier and well-accredited versions, and to have been written or edited about the same time, and not long before the commencement of the Christian era. The Targum of Onkelos, he observes, is rather a version than a paraphrase, for it renders the Hebrew text word for word. But Jonathan, he adds, takes on him the liberty of a paraphrast.
Of these Targums, and others of a later date, it is known that they exhibit or construe the predictions concerning the Messiah in the same way as is done by Christians. That of Onkelos in particular, which is held to be the most ancient and the purest, and from which Prideaux supposes our Saviour to have quoted in several instances, which he specifies, is remarkable in this respect. And if, as is supposed, it represents literally or substantially the version which originated under the superintendence of Ezra, when, from the long disuse of the Hebrew Scriptures and the ignorance of the people generally of their meaning, it was of the first necessity to their instruction and reformation to explain the import and reference of the Divine names and titles in the books of Moses, where the prophets and church of preceding ages understood them to designate the Personal WORD; then the frequent insertion, before the names Jehovah and Elohim, of the term _Memra_ as equivalent to Logos, is a reliable exposition and attestation of the faith of Ezra and his predecessors. And, apparently, every consideration is in favor of this view of the case. The word in question is inserted before the words Jehovah and Elohim where the creation is asserted, so that the act is affirmed of the WORD, or the _Word_ Elohim, or the _Word_ Jehovah Elohim; for which no reason can be assigned or justification offered, unless the personal reference was the same as that of John in ascribing the creation to the Logos. By a like insertion the giving of the law to Moses at mount Sinai is ascribed to the WORD Elohim; speaking to him face to face, to the WORD Jehovah; and in numerous other instances, where personal acts are affirmed, and where the personal reference necessarily includes the added as well as the original designation. If this was done by Ezra, then he did but add what the circumstances of his time required to the example of Moses, who sometimes referred to the delegated ONE, the personal WORD, by the single terms, Jehovah and Elohim, and at others by the compound designations, Melach Jehovah and Melach Elohim. In his case, uniformity in this respect was rendered unnecessary, and diversity intelligible, by the prevalent sentiment, knowledge, and usage of the people. On the contrary, in the other case, the ignorance and disuse of the original Hebrew, on the part of the people, rendered it necessary, first in the oral translation and exposition, and afterwards in the written versions of the sacred books, to insert, at appropriate places, a term adapted, like Logos in the Greek, to suggest, or by definition and use to receive and fix the requisite meaning as a designation.
There is in the nature of the case a very strong probability that the practice of inserting this expository term in the Chaldee versions was originally sanctioned by higher authority than any that we have notice of, after the time of Ezra, or that of Malachi, who is by some supposed to have been the same person as Ezra, and by others to have been contemporary. Of all people, the Jews were the least likely to receive and adopt such an exposition in relation to the Divine names, without the prescription and sanction of a prophet. The supposition of its having originated and been brought into use and favor at a later period is wholly improbable, whether considered in relation to the nature and tendency of the practice, or to the condition of the Jews down to the time of our Saviour. It is, in itself, far more probable that the devout Jews during the captivity in Babylon, with Ezekiel, who had visions of the Personal Word in the likeness of man, and who appears sometimes, if not often, to refer to Him by the Hebrew term _Dabar_, answering to the Chaldee _Memra_, Word, or Revealer; with Daniel, who had visions of the same delegated one, in the same form; and with Ezra and other of their disciples of the sacerdotal and prophetic order, held the same faith as the prophets and patriarchs of earlier times, concerning the person, agency, and manifestations of the Messiah; recognized him under the same designations, and, on their return to Jerusalem, adopted, under the guidance of Ezra, an additional title, rendered necessary to the common people by their disuse of Hebrew, and their use of another language, which was thenceforth to be their vulgar tongue.
And if not, from the circumstances of the case, to be assumed as needing no confirmation, it is at least probable in the highest degree that the Great Revealer would in such a way provide for the maintenance and perpetuity of a church of true worshippers, holding the doctrines and the faith of the patriarchs and prophets concerning his person, and the manifestations and titles by which he was known to them; a succession of devout, instructed, and faithful worshippers, who, at whatever time his advent might take place, would, on his appearance in a form answering to that in which Abraham and others saw him, be ready and waiting, like Simeon and Anna, to see and to proclaim their recognition of him.
The weight of this probability is greatly enhanced by the consideration, that the earlier and principal agencies and instrumentalities by which those doctrines and that faith had been maintained were discontinued prior to the deportation of the Jews and the destruction of their temple, and were never afterwards renewed. For, previous to these events, Jehovah in the similitude of man, radiant in appearance as the brightness of amber and of fire, appeared to Ezekiel at his place of exile, and in vision transported him to Jerusalem. And having exhibited to his astonished gaze the utter desecration of every part of the temple by the most impious and loathsome abominations of idolatry; and having notified him of the tokens by which the remnant of true worshippers was to be discriminated, and how they were to be preserved; and predicted that restoration which is yet future; and shown for his own conviction and that of the captives on his report to them, the grounds and reasons of his righteous judgments upon the rest; and finally having passed from the interior of the temple to the threshold, and assumed the glorious form, with the cherubic accompaniments, in which he had appeared by the river of Chebar, (chap. i.,) "he departed from off the threshold of the house, and," in the sight of the prophet, "mounted up from, the earth," and afterwards "went up from the midst of the city," (rather, from over the city,) "and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city." "So," adds Ezekiel, "the vision that I had seen went up from me." Ezekiel, chap. viii.--xi.
Ezekiel was one of the captives carried to Babylon with Jehoiachin, B. C. 600. Jehoiachin was the last who in due succession sat on the throne of David. He was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, who placed Zedekiah on the throne as his own viceroy and vassal.
No one of the family of David ever afterwards reigned over Judah. The theocratic viceroyalty ceased; the temporal kingdom of the house of David was dissolved. Jehovah, being rejected by his covenant people, and idolatry substituted for his worship, forsook his temple, discontinued his former theocratic relation, ceased to manifest himself in the Shekina, and turned to execute wrath upon Judah and Israel for their idolatrous abominations, and upon the surrounding nations whose idols they worshipped, and by whom they had been seduced and oppressed.
This signal procedure was the sequel of many clear and emphatic predictions, and a long course of discipline tending to restrain the whole house of Israel, and more especially the house of Judah, from total apostasy and alienation; and its occurrence is distinctly noted by the prophets.
The reformation and reign of Hezekiah were succeeded by unprecedented abominations of idolatry during the reign of Manasseh his son. "He built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, [his presence in the Shekina,] to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove [_i. e._, the pillar or statue] that he had made, in the house of the Lord," probably within the veil confronting the Shekina. He seduced the people "to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying: Because Manasseh King of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab; and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will _forsake_ the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies." 2 Kings xxi. and 2 Chron. xxxiii.
Manasseh was succeeded by Amon his son, "who did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them." 2 Kings xxi. In the next reign, that of Josiah, a general reformation was wrought, and idolatry and its monuments were temporarily put away. "Notwithstanding, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and _the house_ of which I said, My name shall be there." 2 Kings xxiii.
On the death of Josiah, the people set up his son Jehoahaz to be king, who did "evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done." And at the end of three months he was deposed by the King of Egypt, who placed in his stead as his vassal, another son of Josiah, whose name he changed from Eliakim to Jehoiakim, probably in derision, substituting the initial of the name Jehovah for that of the name Elohim, to indicate his assumed triumph over the peculiar God of the Jewish people.
Jehoiakim "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done." From him the kingdom passed to his son Jehoiachin, who at the end of three months was vanquished by the King of Babylon and carried captive with the princes, officers, and most of the people, and the treasures of the temple. The kingdom was thus broken up. Nebuchadnezzar, however, left Zedekiah as his vassal in charge of Jerusalem. Under him, notwithstanding the impending destruction of the city and temple, "the chief of the priests and the remaining people transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people till there was no remedy;" and they were subdued, the temple and city burnt, and the wall of Jerusalem broken down. 2 Chron. xxxvi.
The formal abdication and abandonment of the throne of David was consummated by the seizure and captivity of Jehoiachin. "As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah [Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim King of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence." "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous BRANCH, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jer. xxiii. So, before the capture and exile of Jehoiachin, it was announced of Jehoiakim his father, "He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah." Jer. xxxvi.
Thus Jehovah in the most public and formal manner forsook and withdrew from the temple, and terminated the theocracy; the procedure being attended by visible exhibitions, and verbal explanations and announcements intelligible to Ezekiel, and adapted to qualify him to vindicate it to the captives, and to forewarn them of the inflictions and desolations which were to follow. Accordingly, neither the Shekina nor any tokens of the Divine presence there afterwards appeared. When the structure was demolished by the Chaldeans, the altar and all the interior furniture was destroyed or removed, and never again recovered. In the new erection under Cyrus, when dedicated, and ever after, the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat upon it, the Shekina, the Urim and Thummim, the holy fire upon the altar, and the spirit of prophecy, were irrecoverably wanting. The construction which was substituted for the original ark had neither the tables of the law nor any of its other contents, nor any visible glory over it, nor oracles proceeding from it. The Divine presence, always before visible in a cloud over the mercy-seat, returned no more. An imitation altar was erected, but the fire which came down from heaven upon the altar in the tabernacle, and again at the dedication of the first temple, had been extinguished, and was not again restored. Jehovah, officially, as prophet, priest, and king, had withdrawn, not to reäppear till he should come, the Messenger of the Covenant, in fulfilment of Malachi's prediction.
The new structure therefore was, at least to all but those whose worship was purely and eminently spiritual, a cold, cheerless, and dark arena of formal and wearisome rites and ceremonies; a lifeless round of irksome forms, without any visible tokens of the Divine presence, or of Divine recognition or acceptance; any oracular responses, any fire from heaven, or other vindications, confirmations, or sanctions of the doctrines or faith professed or signified by the services and offerings of the worshippers.
Hence the degeneracy, formalism, and hypocrisy which subsequently characterized the temple worship, as recorded by Malachi and his contemporaries, and in the later history of the Jews down to our Saviour's time; their separation into discordant sects; the renunciation by the mass of them of the divine Mediator and the doctrine of Mediation, and their adoption exclusively of the doctrine of the UNITY, as held by them to this day; and the necessity, in order to the maintenance among the true worshippers of the doctrines and faith of the patriarchs and prophets, of providing and perpetuating in their vulgar tongue such expositions as were furnished by the Chaldee paraphrasts.
A further confirmation to the same effect might be deduced from a consideration of the results of the scheme of reformation ascribed to Zoroaster towards the close of the Babylonish exile, whereby he hoped to unite the Jews with the Chaldeans, Persians, &c., in one sect, by purging the Magian system of worship from idolatry, restoring it to what he held to be its primitive purity, and combining with it the doctrine of one supreme creative intelligence, the doctrine of a resurrection, and other tenets of the Jews which might be incorporated in a system that neither taught nor admitted a Mediator, or any doctrine of Divine or creature mediation. This artful scheme, which was more or less successful at the time, and which, among those Jews of Babylon and the provinces who did not return to Palestine, may be traced down for centuries in the history of Oriental Gnosticism, obviously furnished a further reason for guarding the true worshippers, after the period of exile and the cessation of prophetic gifts, by such means as the Chaldee versions furnish.
Let it be further observed, as not unworthy of particular notice, that the Samaritans, from the very commencement of their history, and of their rivalship and hostility to the Jews, and the erection of their temple on Mount Gerizim, simultaneously with that of the restored Jews at Jerusalem, received and used no portion of the sacred writings then extant, except the books of Moses; and that they perseveringly rejected all traditions, and all glosses and comments on the original text. And yet from the saying of the Samaritan woman, "I know that Messiah cometh; (that is, _the Christ, the Anointed_;) when he is come, he will teach us all things," it would seem that, down to our Saviour's time, they understood the true doctrine concerning his person, his incarnation, and the titles by which he would be distinguished. When told that he who was then present in the form of man, and who spoke to her, was the Messiah, she manifested no surprise or doubt. Many of the Samaritans believed in him on her testimony. "And many more believed because of what they heard from himself," and said, "We know that this is truly the Saviour of the World, the Messiah." (_Campbell._)
Now, since they held no intercourse with the Jews, and, from prejudice and hostility, would learn nothing from them; and since they received only the Pentateuch and rejected all traditions, it would seem that they must from the beginning of their history have understood the Mosaic writings to teach those doctrines, and from continual study of them as the only source of their religious knowledge, hopes and expectations, must have perpetuated the sentiments with which they originally received them.
"That the sentiments of the woman who conversed at the well with Christ were the same with those of the Samaritans in general, will not admit of a doubt; for from whence could a common person like her have obtained the information she discovers on several points relating to the Messiah, unless from popular traditions current amongst those of her own nation? These sentiments then furnish us with a strong argument in answer to those who contend that the more ancient Hebrews entertained no expectation of a Messiah, but that this hope first, sprang up amongst the Jews some short time before the coming of our Saviour. So deep and inveterate was the enmity which subsisted between the Jews and the Samaritans, that it is utterly incredible that a hope of this kind should have been communicated from either of them to the other. It necessarily follows, therefore, that as both of them were, at the time of our Saviour's birth, looking for the appearance of a Messiah from above, they must have derived the expectation from one common source, doubtless the books of Moses and the discipline of their ancestors; and consequently that this hope was entertained long before the Babylonish captivity, and the rise of the Samaritans. I mention only the books of Moses, because it is well known that the Samaritans did not consider any of the other writings of the Old Testament as sacred or of Divine original; and it is therefore not at all likely that any information which they might possess respecting the Messiah that was to come should have been drawn from any other source. In the discourse of the Samaritan woman, we likewise discover what were the sentiments of the ancient Hebrews respecting the Messiah. The expectation of the Jews at the time of our Saviour's coming was, as we have seen, directed towards a war-like leader, a hero, an emperor, who should recover for the oppressed posterity of Abraham their liberty and rights; but the Samaritans, as appears from the conversation of this woman, looked forward to the Messiah in the light of a spiritual teacher and guide, who should instruct them in a more perfect and acceptable way of serving God than that which they then followed. Now the Samaritans had always kept themselves entirely distinct from the Jews, and would never consent to adopt any point of doctrine or discipline from them; and the consequence was, that the ancient opinion respecting the Messiah had been retained in much greater purity by the former than by the Jews, whose arrogance and impatience under the calamities to which they were exposed, had brought them by degrees to turn their backs on the opinions entertained by their forefathers on this subject, and to cherish the expectation that, in the Messiah promised to them by God, they should have to hail an earthly prince and deliverer. Lastly, I think it particularly deserving of attention, that it is clear from what is said by this woman, that the Samaritans did not consider the Mosaic Law in the light of a permanent establishment, but expected that it would pass away, and its place be supplied by a more perfect system of discipline on the coming of the Messiah. For when she hears our Saviour predict the downfall of the Samaritan as well as the Jewish religion, instead of taking fire at his words, and taxing him, after the Jewish manner, with blasphemy against God and against Moses, (Acts vi. 13-15,) she answers with mildness and composure that she knew the Messiah would come, and was not unapprised that the religion of her ancestors would then undergo a change." (Mosheim, Int. Com. chap. 2.)
The Jews, on the contrary, as is hereafter more particularly observed, had renounced the Divine Mediator and the entire doctrine of mediation between God and man. They did not expect the promised Messiah in the character of Mediator, but, holding no distinction of persons in the Godhead, they gloried in the doctrine of the _Unity_; believed the Mosaic Law and institutions would be perpetual, and trusted to their observance of them for salvation. It were easy to multiply citations to show that they still entertain those views. A single instance may suffice. In the London Jewish Chronicle for May, 1852, the chief Rabbi of the great synagogue, in a sermon on the first day of the Feast of Weeks, is quoted as saying: "A man who has a royal patron, when in distress applies first to the Minister, to know if an audience will be granted; but with respect to God, if man is in trouble he wants no Mediator, or angels, but calls to God alone, and he shall be heard. And this cheering belief in the unity of God is quieting to the mind."
Citations from the Chaldee Paraphrases.
The earliest Chaldee paraphrases which have been handed down are supposed to have been compiled or written about the time of the first advent, when the true worshippers may be supposed to have been anxious to revive and spread abroad the knowledge of them in such manner as to induce the Jews of that period to recognize the Messiah in the incarnate Word. The following testimonies from those writings of the sentiments of the Jewish Church concerning the Messiah as understood by them to be revealed in the ancient Scriptures, and his identity with the Messenger Jehovah, are, for the sake of his comments, taken from Faber's _Horæ Mosaicæ_:
"When the text reads, _They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden_, the Targums explain the passage to mean: _They heard the_ WORD _of the Lord God walking;_ or, somewhat more fully, _they heard the voice of the_ WORD _of the Lord God walking_. In point of grammatical construction, even the modern Jews allow that the participle _walking_ agrees with the voice, and not with _the Lord God_. But walking is the attribute of a person. Therefore the Targums rightly gave the sense of the original when they introduced the WORD as the judge of our first parents."
The exclamation of Eve, I have gotten a man from the Lord, they render, "_I have obtained the man, the angel of Jehovah!_ Now, since _Jehovah_ is the word used in the original, it is difficult to account for this paraphrastic exposition, unless we conclude that, at the time when it was written, the Jews believed the angel of Jehovah to be himself Jehovah, and expected him to be born incarnate."
"To this opinion we shall the rather incline, if we attend to another paraphrastic interpretation. The sacred text reads: _In that day shall Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of his people_. But the Targum of Jonathan reads: _In that day shall the Messiah of Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory_. Jonathan, however, could never have thus explained the passage, unless he had believed that the future Messiah would be Jehovah incarnate; nor would he have hazarded so extraordinary an interpretation, unless he had been fully conscious of speaking the general sentiments of his contemporaries. It is well known that the Jews so highly venerate the Targum of this writer, as to deem it something divine; yet we see that Jonathan identifies the Messiah with Jehovah himself. The doctrine in question still prevailed among the Jews at the time when Justin Martyr flourished, as is manifest from his direct appeal to Trypho. _If we produce to them,_ says he, _those scriptures formerly rehearsed to you, which expressly show that the Messiah is both subject to suffering, and yet is the adorable God, they are under a necessity of acknowledging that these respect the Christ. So that while they assert that Jesus is not the Christ, they still confess that the Christ Himself shall come, and suffer, and reign, and be the adorable God: which conduct of theirs is truly most absurd and contradictory._ I need scarcely remark, that Justin could never have hazarded such language to a Hebrew antagonist, unless he knew that he had very good ground for what he said.
"But to return to the Targums, where the text reads: _Let not God speak with us, lest we die_, the interpretation of Onkelos runs, _Let not the Word from before the Lord speak with us_. So likewise where the text reads, _She called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou God seest me_, the Targum of Jonathan runs, _She confessed before the Lord Jehovah, whose Word had spoken unto her_. And the Targum of Jerusalem, _She confessed and prayed to the Word of the Lord who had appeared to her_. Now the person who appeared to Hagar was the angel of Jehovah. The paraphrasts therefore identify _the Word and the Angel_. Hence it is plain that by the Word of God they do not mean a speech uttered by God, but that they use the term to express a real person. By this personal Word they understood the Messiah; as is evident from Jonathan's interpretation of the text, _Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand_. He explains its purport to be, _Jehovah said unto his Word_. But it is manifest from our Saviour's conversation with the Pharisees relative to the nature and parentage of the Messiah, that they acknowledge this text to relate to him; and it appears from the Midrash Tillim that such an application is fully recognized by the Jewish Rabbins. Hence the inference is inevitable, that the Hebrew doctors confess the Messiah to be the Word of God or the angel of Jehovah. And hence we shall at once perceive why St. John so pointedly bestows the title upon his divine Master. He did but employ the usual phraseology of his countrymen respecting the promised Messiah; yet, by applying the name of Jesus of Nazareth, he at once declared him to be the Messiah, and that angel of Jehovah who was confessedly the God both of the Patriarchal and of the Levitical Church.
"Agreeably to this obvious conclusion, the Targums exhibit the Word with all the characteristics of the expected Messiah.
"They describe him as the Mediator between God and man.
"Thus, in paraphrasing a text from Deuteronomy iv. 7, Jonathan writes: _God is near in the name of the Word of Jehovah_; in paraphrasing a text of Hosea iv. 9, _God will receive the prayer of Israel by his Word, and have mercy upon them, and will make them by his Word like a beautiful fig tree_. And in paraphrasing a text of Jeremiah xxix. 14: _I will be sought by you in my Word, and I will be inquired of by you through my Word._ Thus likewise where Abraham is said by Moses to have _called on the name of Jehovah the everlasting God_, he is described by the Targum of Jerusalem as _praying in the name of the Word of Jehovah, the God of the world_.
"They speak of him as making atonement for sin.
"Thus, in paraphrasing a text of Deuteronomy, (xxxii. 43,) Jonathan writes: _God will atone by his Word for his land and for his people, even a people saved by the Word of Jehovah._
"They exhibit him as a Redeemer.
"Thus the text from Genesis xlix. 18, _I have waited for thy salvation, O Jehovah_, is paraphrased as follows in the Jerusalem Targum: _Our father Jacob said thus: My soul expects not the redemption of Gideon the son of Joash, which is a temporal salvation; nor the redemption of Samson, which is a transitory salvation; but the redemption which thou didst promise should come through thy Word to thy people. This salvation my soul waits for._ Thus the same text is paraphrased by Jonathan with a direct application to the Messiah; whence again we find it to be the established doctrine of the ancient Hebrew Church, that the Messiah and the Word were the same person. Our father Jacob said: _I do not expect the deliverance of Gideon the son of Joash, which is a temporal salvation; nor that of Samson the son of Manoah, which is a transient salvation; but I expect the redemption of Messiah the son of David, who shall come to gather to himself the children of Israel._
"The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan were written immediately before the time of Christ, and among the Jews they are in such high esteem, that they hold them to be of the same authority with the original text. Of this extravagant honor the ground is, that those two interpreters committed to writing the ancient oral traditions, which [they supposed] had come down in regular descent from their first communication to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai.
"Such an opinion proves at least the high antiquity of the sentiments contained in those Targums; and, as the Targums themselves were composed before the Christian era, they must clearly be viewed as exhibiting the doctrine of the Levitical Church ere an inveterate hatred of the gospel led to a suppression or concealment of the ancient faith.
"The later Targums were written subsequent to the time of our Lord; but so far as regards the present argument, their importance is not the less on that account. Those of Onkelos and Jonathan show the tenets of the Hebrew Church _before_ Christ; those which are later prove, by their accordance with their predecessors, that the same doctrine continued in full force during the first centuries _after_ the Christian era. Thus, notwithstanding Jesus of Nazareth was denied to be the Messiah, the Jews," [meaning of course the old school, orthodox party,] "it is plain from the written evidence of the later Targums, did not immediately depart from the sentiments of their forefathers relative to _the character_ of the Messiah."
After quoting testimonies from different Jewish Rabbins, he observes: "The reason why the Rabbins pronounced the Messiah to be Jehovah, was this: Following the ancient Targums, which spoke the universally received doctrines of the _Hebrew_ Church, they perceived, like the authors of those Targums, that the Messiah was the same person as the anthropomorphic Word, or Angel of Jehovah. But they knew that the Angel of Jehovah was the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. And they were assured that their pious forefathers did not idolatrously worship a creature, but that they venerated the self-existent God, Jehovah. Hence they rightly determined that _Jehovah_ was _the name of the Messiah_. This will appear very distinctly, if we attend to their doctrine respecting the great angel whom they cabalistically denominated Metraton." (Vol. 2, sec. 1, chap. iii.)
The reader will observe that this author construes the formulas Melach Jehovah, Memra Jehovah, &c., in the same way as our translation, Angel _of_ the Lord, Word _of_ the Lord, &c.; and while correctly holding that the Angel or Messenger, and the Logos, Memra, or Word, are personally identical with Jehovah, still indicates a distinction, as though the former persons were sent by the latter. This is undoubtedly inconsistent and unauthorized. Had he in his construction left out the preposition _of_, as the original does, all would have been clear.
The following extracts are corrected from Dr. J. P. Smith's work, The Scripture Testimony to the Messiah.
Onkelos renders Jacob's prediction of Shiloh, Gen. xlix., "_The Messiah whose is the kingdom_." The Jerusalem Targum, "_The King Messiah whose is the kingdom_." Jonathan on Sam. xxiii. 1-7: "The God of Israel spoke with respect to me; the Rock of Israel, the Sovereign of the sons of men, the true Judge, hath spoken to appoint me King; for _He is the Messiah_ that shall be, who shall arise and rule in the fear of the Lord." The Chaldee and other Targums generally refer the 2d Psalm to the Messiah. Also the 45th Psalm, v. 2: "Thy beauty, O King Messiah, is preëminent above the sons of men." Jonathan renders Isaiah xxiii. 5: "Behold, the days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will raise up to David the Messiah of the Righteous, and he shall reign," &c. And xxxiii. 15: "In those days and in that time, I will raise up to David the Messiah of righteousness," &c. And Micah v. 1: "And thou, Bethlehem, out of thee shall proceed in my presence the Messiah to exercise sovereignty over Israel, whose name has been called from eternity, from the days of the everlasting period." Zech. iii. 8: "Behold, I bring forth my servant the Messiah, and he shall be revealed." And vi. 12: "Behold a man, Messiah is his name, ready that he may be revealed and may spring forth, and may build the temple of Jah."
The Jerusalem Targum, referring to Abraham when Jehovah appeared to him as a man, says: "The Word of Jehovah [Memra Jehovah] appeared to him in the Valley of Vision." Jonathan on Isaiah xlviii. 12: "Obey my Word;" and 13: "Even by my Word I have founded the earth;" xlix. 16: "My Word will not reject thee." Jer. xxix. 23: "Before me it is unveiled, and my Word is witness;" xxxi. 4: "For my Word is to Israel as a Father;" xxxii. 40: "My Word shall not turn away from following them to do them good, and my Word shall rejoice over them to do them good." Ezek. xx. 12: "I gave them my Sabbath days, to be for a sign between my Word and them, that they may know that I am Jah who sanctify them." The Targumists generally substitute the word Jah for Jehovah. Jonathan on Gen. v. 26: "That was the generation in whose days they began to apostatize, and made to themselves falsehoods, [or idols,] and named their falsehoods by the name of the Word of Jah." Jer. Tar. on Exodus vi. 2: "And Jah was revealed by his Word to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Var. Tar. Isaiah xliii. 2: "In ancient time, when ye passed through the Red Sea, my Word was for your help;" xlv. 17: "Israel shall be delivered by the Word of Jah, with an everlasting deliverance;" v. 25: "By the Word of Jah shall all the seed of Israel be declared righteous, and shall glory;" lxiii. 8: "My people are they, sons who will not deal falsely; and his Word was their Redeemer;" v. 13: "He led them through the deep: the Word of Jah led them." Jer. vi. 8: "Be admonished, O Jerusalem, lest my Word cast thee off." Hosea xiv. 9: "I by my Word will accept the prayer of Israel." Zach. vi. 7: "Not by force, nor by power, but by my Word, saith Jah of hosts. And he will reveal the Messiah whose name is spoken from eternity, and he shall reign over all kingdoms."
The author quotes the following from Dr. Ryland and the Prolegomena to Walton's Polyglot: "There are many passages of the Chaldee Paraphrasts which could have been derived only from the remains of the expositions and doctrines delivered by the prophets. They have many things concerning the Word of God, by whom the universe was created, &c., and which admirably confirm the declarations of St. John upon the Logos, and prove that in so designating the Messiah or Son of God, the Evangelist employed a name already in familiar use among the Jews, as received from their ancestors, though not perfectly understood by all among them. To this Word the Jerusalem Targum on Gen. i. 27 attributes _creation_: 'The Word of the Lord created man.' And xxxii. 22: 'And the Word of the Lord said, Behold Adam whom I have created.' Jonathan on Deut. xxxii. 39, says: 'When will the Word of the Lord be manifested to redeem his people?' The same Targum on Gen. xix. 24, ascribes to the Word of the Lord the sending down of sulphur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah: 'Sulphur and fire were sent down upon it from the Word of the Lord out of heaven.' So likewise Onkelos: 'And the Word of the Lord returned.' And on Gen. v. 24: 'Enoch was taken away by the Word before the Lord.' So the Jerusalem, Deut. xviii. 19: 'My Word will take vengeance upon him.' So Onkelos and Jonathan. The passages are innumerable in which actions and properties are attributed to the Word of God, as a distinct Person."
Again, quoting Owen as referred to by Ryland: "The Chaldee Paraphrast, observing that some especial presence of God is expressed in the words, Gen. iii. 8, renders them, 'And they heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God walking in the garden.' So all the Targums. And that of Jerusalem begins the next verse accordingly: 'And the Word of the Lord God called unto Adam.' And this expression they afterwards make use of in places innumerable; and that in such a way as plainly to denote a distinct Person in the Deity. That this was their intention in it, is hence manifest; because about the time of the writing of the first of those Targums which gave the rule of speaking unto them that followed, it was usual amongst them to express their conceptions of the Son of God by the name of the Logos, or Word of God." (_Owen on Epist. Heb. Vol. 1._)
"At this time, there was nothing more common among the Hebrews than to denote the second subsistence of the Deity by the name of the Word of God. They were now divided into two great parts: first the inhabitants of Canaan, with the regions adjoining, and many old remnants in the East, who used the Syro-Chaldean language, being but one dialect of the Hebrew; and secondly, the dispersions under the Greek empire, who are commonly called Hellenists, and also used the Greek tongue. And both these sorts did usually, in their several languages, describe the second Person in the Trinity by the name of the _Word of God_. For the former sort, or those who used the Syro-Chaldean dialect, we have an eminent proof of it in the translation of the Scripture which, at least some part of it, was made about this time amongst them, commonly called the Chaldee Paraphrase; in the whole whereof the second Person is mentioned under the name of Memra dejeja, or the Word of God. Hereunto are all personal properties and all divine works in that translation assigned; with an illustrious testimony to the faith of the old Church concerning the distinct subsistence of a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature. And for the Hellenists who wrote and expressed themselves in the Greek tongue, they used the name _Logos, the Word_ of God, to the same purpose: as I have elsewhere manifested out of the writings of Philo, who lived about this time, between the death of our Saviour and the destruction of Jerusalem." (_Owen, Vol. 2._)
It will be observed that in all the translations of the Targums, and in the comments of Ryland and Owen, the same usage is exhibited as in our translation, of making the _Jehovah_ the genitive of the official appellative which precedes it. Hence the mystery and confusion which have so generally been thought to attend the official designations of the Old Testament. But if it be considered that in the use of the terms Logos, Dabar, and Memra, where a personal reference is intended, the abstract is put for the concrete, as _Word_ for _Revealer_, so that where these words are coupled with _Jehovah_ the reading should be _The Revealer_, or _The Revealing Jehovah_,--as in the case of _Melach Jehovah_, the reading should be, _The Messenger_, or _The Sent_ or _delegated Jehovah_, or the Messenger _who is_ Jehovah,--the use of those terms as personal designations will suggest no difficulty.
Reasons of the Failure of the modern versions of the Scriptures to exhibit clearly the Hebrew designations of the Messiah--The Masoretic Punctuation--Reference to the term Melach and the formula Melach Jehovah.
But if, in the ancient dispensations, the Messenger Jehovah, the delegated official Person, Messiah, was, in all relations, the actor, administrator, and revealer; if Moses and the prophets wrote intelligibly of Him; if they recognized and acknowledged him under all the Divine designations, why, it may naturally be asked, did not the authors of the English and other modern versions so understand, and in their translations construe and represent them? An answer to this question, in all its bearings, probably no one now would be inclined to undertake. But in certain, and perhaps the most important respects, it admits of a satisfactory answer. The translators, from the prescribed or customary and popular course of theological study and opinion, which aimed to avoid, with the arrogant assumptions and pretensions of Romanism, the gentile heresies of the whole Papal history, were led to entertain an overweening and ill-founded confidence in the modern Jews as interpreters of their own Scriptures; that is, of the Jewish authors who flourished, and whose works were published, after the establishment of Papal domination and intolerance, and of Mohammedan ravage and proscription. That school of Jewish authors was not only more modern, but widely different in respect to their theological doctrines from the Chaldee paraphrasts, especially in regard to the Messiah; and may be comprehensively described as including the Talmudists, the Masoretic doctors, and their rabbinical disciples and followers of various names. The productions of these Jewish authors were numerous and readily accessible at the period of the revival of learning in Europe, and in the sixteenth century were brought into notice and favor especially by the elder Buxtorf, in connection with his edition of the Hebrew Bible, and his lexicons, grammar, and various works relating to Masoretic and rabbinical literature. He seems to have entered with enthusiasm into the study of this school of Jewish writers; and, with respect at least to the later and best known portion of them, as the clue to their sentiments was furnished by their use of the Masoretic points, he embraced their system in that respect, and inculcated and defended the application of it to the text of the Hebrew Scriptures with earnestness, perseverance, and success. His example was followed. The use of the points facilitated the study of the language; and for that reason, as well as because they were supposed to be safe guides in respect to the reference and meaning of words, they became popular with the learned and with students. Instead of being regarded as having the effect of a translation and commentary, and thereby fastening on the text the constructions and opinions of their authors, whether erroneous or otherwise, they were regarded primarily in a grammatical point of view, and as indicating the vowels supposed to be proper to Hebrew words, in addition to the letters originally composing them.
But this system of punctuation has unavoidably the effect of a version or comment. Its office is essentially that of an exponent of the constructions and opinions of its authors, and as such it can be no further correct and reliable than their theological, exegetical, and religious doctrines, theories and sentiments were in accordance with the real meaning of the original text. It may often, and perhaps generally where no doctrine or doubtful construction is concerned, have the effect to express that real meaning, and to that extent it might be harmless, and, if not wholly useless, might be of equal value with a paraphrase to the same effect. But if the student adopts this system as a guide, he naturally relies on it as equally applicable to every portion of the sacred oracles, and, with as much confidence in one case as in another, adopts the construction which it indicates.
An attempt to reform the reigning fashion of Hebrew study in relation to this subject would probably be as hopeful a task as an attempt to disabuse the minds of theologians and religious teachers of the empirical, fanciful, and puerile system of figurative exposition which was rendered popular by Origen, and has reigned triumphant from his to the present time; being propagated from age to age by education, and by the example and influence of the learned. But, regarded in a merely historical point of view, there appears to be no room for doubt but that the Hebrew vowel points--closely and even bigotedly adhered to, as they are understood to have been, by the translators of the Scriptures into our own and other modern languages--had, extensively, a very ill effect upon the versions which they furnished. And to whatever extent this was true, it would naturally prevail, especially in relation to those passages concerning which the authors held erroneous opinions, and as to which, under the more than hereditary Jewish prejudices occasioned by the persecutions and proscriptions to which they were subjected, they aimed to counteract the tendency of the Chaldee versions, as well as "to root out," in the language of McCaul, the Christian interpretations of the Hebrew text. "The violent persecutions of the Crusaders," says that writer, "the jealousy excited by the Christian attempt upon the Holy Land, and the influence of the doctrine of the Mahometans, amongst whom they lived, produced a sensible change in Jewish opinions and interpretations, which is plainly marked in Kimchi and other writers of the day, and without a knowledge of which the phenomena of modern Judaism cannot be fully understood. Rashi, Aben-Ezra, and Kimchi endeavored to get rid of the Christian interpretations, and Maimonides to root out the Christian doctrines _which had descended from the ancient Jewish Church_." (_Introduction to Kimchi._) Yet this laborious student of those authors and of the Talmud adhered as pertinaciously as they to the Masoretic points, and apparently without over suspecting that their highest office and their necessary and principal effect was that of being the vehicle of a comment. Such is the force of education, literary discipline, example, and habit in generating fixed opinions.
But let one deemed competent to judge and to speak upon this subject be referred to:
"The Masoretic punctuation," says Bishop Lowth, "by which the pronunciation of the language is given, the forms of the several parts of speech, the construction of the words, the distribution and limits of the sentences, and the connection of the several members, _are fixed_, is in effect _an interpretation_ of the Hebrew text made by the Jews _of late ages_, probably not earlier than the eighth century, and may be considered as their translation of the Old Testament. Where the words, _unpointed_, are capable of various meanings, accordingly as they are variously pronounced and constructed, the Jews, _by their pointing_, have determined them to one _meaning and construction_, and the sense which they thus give is _their sense_ of the passage, just as the rendering of a translator into another language is _his sense_; that is, the sense in which in his opinion the original words are to be taken; and it has no other authority than what arises from its being agreeable to the rules of just interpretation. But because in the languages of Europe the vowels are essential parts of written words, a notion was too hastily taken up by the learned at the revival of letters, when the original Scriptures began to be more carefully examined, that the vowel points were necessary appendages of the Hebrew letters, and therefore _coëval with them;_ at least that they became absolutely necessary when the Hebrew was become a dead language, and must have been added by Ezra, who collected and formed the canon of the Old Testament, in regard to all the books of it in his time extant. On this supposition the points have been considered as part of the Hebrew text, and as giving the meaning of it on no less than Divine authority. Accordingly, our public translations in the modern tongues for the use of the Church among Protestants, and so likewise the modern Latin translations, are for the most part close copies of the Hebrew pointed text, and are in reality only versions at second-hand, translations of the Jews' interpretation of the Old Testament."
After conceding to this interpretation what he supposes it may justly claim, he adds that the modern translators "would have made a much better use of it, and a greater progress in the explication of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, had they consulted it without absolutely submitting to its authority; had they considered it as an assistant, not as an infallible guide." Finally he compares the effect of this course to that of the Act of the Council of Trent in pronouncing the Vulgate to be of equal authority with the original Scriptures. (_Dissertation preliminary to his Version of Isaiah._)
Now to apply these observations to the case in hand. Our translators having been educated in the Jewish sense of the Hebrew Scriptures, and having studied the original with the points under the received and general impression that they were of equal authority with the text, of course proceeded with their translations under the influence of whatever erroneous constructions and opinions the Massorites and their disciples entertained. Those errors, therefore, which were predominant in the Jewish mind when the points were added to the text, and when the causes of prejudice and hostility against the Christian doctrines were universally and most violently in operation, were perpetuated, both among Jews and Christians, by the use of those ingenious and plausible appendages; and from that day to this, translators and expositors have fallen back upon them, and upon the awful petrifactions of Talmudical and rabbinical jargon, as guides to the meaning of the words of Inspiration.
The Jewish people, after their total defection to idolatry, their exile in Babylon, and the cessation of prophetic gifts, having renounced idols and incurred the hatred and contempt of idolaters, were, from their restless state of mind, their internal divisions, feuds, and rivalships, and the exposures and vicissitudes of their external condition peculiarly exposed to cardinal and sectarian errors. They had forsaken Jehovah, and no longer received any tokens of his presence and favor. Both priests and people, a faithful remnant always excepted, had rejected him as their mediatorial prophet, priest, and king, and renounced their allegiance to him as their lawgiver and providential ruler and protector; and holding no longer the belief of a Divine mediator or of any mediation, they relapsed into that notion of the Unity which they still adhere to, and looked only for a temporal political Messiah. The fitful efforts at reformation which, under the influence of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the latest prophets, appeared after the rebuilding of their temple, gave place to extremes of formalism, hypocrisy, and impiety. Their notions of the person, offices, prerogatives, incarnation and sacerdotal work of the Anointed One, were as unscriptural and baseless as those of more modern times.
Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, (Brown's version,) about the middle of the second century, thus refers to the Rabbins of that day, (sect. 68.) Trypho, in common, no doubt, with the Jews generally, held that there was no distinction of Persons in the Godhead, and that, there was no Divine Being, or Person, but the Father only; and quoted, not the original Hebrew of Scripture texts, but the glosses and false constructions of the Rabbins, in support of his opinions. Justin replies: "If, therefore, I shall prove that this prophecy of Esaias was spoken of our Christ, and not of Hezekias, as you say, shall not I prevail upon you in this also to disbelieve your Rabbies, who assert that the translation which your seventy Elders made when they were with Ptolemy, King of Egypt, is in some places not true? for those places in the Scriptures which expressly contradict any foolish notion which they are fond of, they say are not so in the original; and those places which they can twist and twine about so as to make them suit any human affairs, they say were not spoken of this Christ of ours, but of him whom they endeavor to wrest them to speak of. So they have taught you to wrest the passage now in dispute, saying that it was spoken of Hezekias; upon which passage I will prove that they have fixed a wrong interpretation. But when we propose those Scriptures to them which I have already recited, and do expressly prove that Christ was to be exposed to sufferings, to be worshipped, and is God, they do indeed, being necessarily obliged thereto, own that they relate to Christ; but they take upon them to assert that he was not THE Christ, and say that there is one still to come, who is both to suffer, and to reign, and to be worshipped, and to be God." In sect. 71 he observes that the Rabbies "have erased out several whole periods from the Septuagint translation, in which it is expressly foretold that he who was crucified was to be God and man, and to be crucified and to die;" which erased passages he afterwards quotes.
In the course of his argument he alleges and quotes from the Old Testament to show that _the_ Christ is called God, Lord, Lord of Hosts, a King, the King of Israel, the King of Glory, Angel or Messenger, Man, Captain of the Host, &c.
The efforts to impart correct instruction and revive the ancient faith by means of the Chaldee expositions, doubtless had effect upon more or less of those who frequented the synagogues and the temple services; but to the great mass, so far as can be judged from history, or from their sentiments and condition, at the period of the advent, they were of no avail. How natural, then, that the successors of this party of Sadducean and Pharasaic infidelity, with the stimulus added by the conversion or, as they regarded it, the apostasy of many to the Christian faith, and the further stimulus of Mohammedan and pseudo-Christian intolerance and persecution, should do their utmost to conceal or extirpate from the Hebrew text all traces of the Christian doctrine!
With reference to the subject now specially in hand, it may suffice to refer to a single instance of concealment and perversion which, though of earlier origin, as appears from the Septuagint and the Vulgate, for aught that is perceived, was fastened upon the Hebrew text by the Masoretic punctuation, and was derived thence by our translators; namely, that of the formula, _Melach Jehovah_, which, by the examples formerly adduced, the connections in which it occurs, the use of the terms interchangeably, and the testimony of the Evangelists, is shown to be a clear, unequivocal, and emphatic designation of the official Person, Messiah, the Legate of the Father. But the school of Jews above referred to, of whom Kimchi may be taken as a representative, consider the person designated _Melach_ in this formula "as nothing more than one of the many angels to whom he supposes that the governance and guidance of this lower world is committed." They did not regard the term _Melach_, when employed in this formula, as a name of office, signifying Messenger, but as a personal designation, signifying Angel, an angel, one of the angels. The points accordingly are so adjusted as to require the rendering to be, _an_ angel _of_ the Lord, or _the_ angel, understood as one of _the angels of_ the Lord. To gloss over the apparent identity, in some passages, of that angel with Jehovah, and the ascription of the same acts to each separately, they represent the angel as personating, and speaking in the name of, Jehovah; and explain his calling himself the God of Beth-El as signifying no more than Jacob's calling a place El-Beth-El.
Now it is apparent that our translators have in the instance under consideration given us, not the clear and definite import of the original text, but, closely adhering to the points and following the steps of their Rabbinical guides, have given at second-hand a version of their _sense_, "a translation of their interpretation." In every instance but one (Malachi iii.) in their translation of the word _Melach_, (except when applied to men,) they employ the word _Angel_, a personal designation, not a name of office; and in most cases, if not in all, the English reader must naturally suppose that the reference was merely to one of the many created beings called angels. Accordingly, though they sometimes say, _the_ angel of the Lord, in other instances, where the original is the same, they say, _an_ angel of the Lord, implying that they did not uniformly refer to the same Person, nor in any case to any other than a created angel. The same thing is further illustrated and confirmed by their grammatical construction of the formula in accordance with the points, rendering it uniformly, the angel, or an angel _of_ the Lord, or of God. For instance, in Judges, chap. ii. 1, in the original, _Melach Jehovah_ came up from Gilgal to Bochim, is translated, "_an_ angel _of_ the Lord came up," &c. So in chap. vi. 11 of the same book, _Melach Jehovah_ is rendered, _an_ angel _of_ the Lord; and in the next verse the same formula is rendered, _the_ angel _of_ the Lord; and three times in the 20th and 21st verses, _the_ angel; and twice in the 22d verse, _an_ angel. In all these cases, and many others like them, it is demonstrable from the context that one and the same person is referred to; that the same acts are ascribed to him and to Jehovah, and that the formula by which he is designated is employed interchangeably with the names Jehovah and Elohim. Yet, looking no farther than the sentences which announce the actor or speaker as an angel, neither collating those sentences with others in the same or other chapters, nor being able, if he did, to explain or reconcile the various and discordant renderings, the reader is left in doubt and perplexity, or else concludes that a created angel is referred to.
Had the translators in this and other cases of the kind taken the unpointed Hebrew text as their guide, compared all its parallel passages, and understood the word Melach according to its original and primary meaning, and its specific and necessary import where joined with the Divine names, as in the formulas above-mentioned, to be a name of office, signifying Messenger, Legate, one delegated, sent; who can doubt but that they would have discerned in the designation an unmistakable reference to the Messiah; that they would have retained the original Hebrew formulas, or translated them intelligibly and uniformly, and left their readers in no perplexity as to their sentiments or the meaning of their version?
The word _Melach_ first occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures, Gen. xvi., where it is employed in its primary signification, and occurs four times in the formula _Melach Jehovah_, clearly designating the official Person, Jehovah, in his delegated character--the Anointed and Sent of the Father, _The Messenger Jehovah_. In the original there is uniformity, consistency, and perfect freedom from ambiguity and uncertainty in the use of this term as an official designation, here and wherever it occurs throughout the Scriptures. There is no mistaking it if regarded in its grammatical relation with the Divine names, and its connection with the context, independently of the points and of the hereditary Jewish construction; and had the translators so regarded it, and in their version employed the term _Messenger_ instead of _Angel_, it would have been as clearly understood to designate the official Person as if they had substituted or added the term _Messiah_.
Subsequently, this name of office was applied to created angels and to men employed, and because they were employed, as messengers; and it finally came to be used as a personal appellative. The first instance of this occurs Gen. xix. 1: "There came two _angels_ to Sodom," that is, two messengers; two who were _sent_ by Jehovah while he was present with Abraham in the visible form of man. And chap. xxxii. 3, 6: "Jacob _sent messengers_ before him to Esau.... And _the messengers_ returned to Jacob;" that is, he _sent_ two of his servants with a message. But in the original, the word translated angels in chap. xix., and messengers in chap. xxxii., is the same, and differs from that in chap. xvi. and all the parallel passages translated _angel_, only by being in the plural form.
This term _Melach_, as an official designation of Jehovah, including the instances in which it is coupled with the name Elohim, occurs more than twenty times in the books of Moses, and more than twice that number of times in the later Hebrew Scriptures; and considering that it is often employed interchangeably with the names Jehovah and Elohim; that the same acts, revelations, promises, covenants, and predictions, are in the same or in different passages ascribed indifferently to Jehovah, Elohim, and the Messenger Jehovah; and that in the New Testament, both in references to the Old and in original revelations and announcements, the same acts, promises, &c., are ascribed to the Logos or personal Word under that and other designations; it is manifest that, had our translators rightly apprehended the import and reference of the designation, and represented it in their version by a term as guarded, unequivocal, and distinctive as the original, their readers would be at no loss as to how or in what relations Moses wrote of Christ.
But their misguided and erroneous apprehensions and renderings of this official designation are scarcely more remarkable than the like proceedings on their part in reference to several other peculiar or official Hebrew designations of the Messiah, which occur both in Moses and the prophets; their inadequate and uncertain or erroneous versions of which are no doubt to be ascribed to their concurrence with the Jewish expositions and with the requirements of the vowel points. And without imputing any other than honest intentions, or doing any injustice to the translators, but only allowing for the effect of their theological education, and for the arbitrary and controlling influence of the guides which they thought it safe to follow, and which, from their own convictions and the ascendant notions of the times, they were in effect necessitated to adopt, it may safely be alleged that, with respect to the great Actor and Revealer, the pervading theme of Moses and the prophets, they have in numerous instances wholly failed, and in their version, as a whole, but partially succeeded, in exhibiting the designations and references of the original.
That their version, as a whole, is superior to any of the other modern versions, is generally admitted; that it exhibits the historical narratives and those doctrinal statements which do not immediately relate to the official Person, with a fidelity and an intelligibleness scarcely indeed to be avoided by able and honest men, but which such men at the present day would not be likely to excel, is justly to be acknowledged; but in regard to the personal designations, ascriptions and references alluded to, their guides subjected their intentions to an erroneous theory.
The ill consequences to the English reader, so far as the doctrines essential to his salvation are concerned, are counteracted by the record of the visible appearance of the official Person incarnate, the historical narratives of his acts, his expiatory death, his resurrection and ascension, and the doctrinal revelations and apostolic testimonies of the New Testament; and he is far too easily led to regard the Divine oracles as of little significance or importance, except in so far as they specially teach those essential doctrines. In this partial view of their import and design, the Old Testament is lightly esteemed or disregarded with respect to the far greater part of its contents, by those who most highly esteem the New, and with respect to the whole of its contents, by many. It is not recognized as a continuous record of personal Divine manifestations, visible appearances, supernatural acts, audible enunciations; a record of the creation, of the apostasy and its consequences, of the administration of providence and grace, and of visible interpositions and retributions towards individuals, families, and nations; a progressive disclosure of the attributes, prerogatives, and purposes of the Self-existent, of his acts as Lawgiver and Ruler, and of his supremacy, majesty and glory, whereby He who personally appeared and acted under the ancient dispensations, and at length became incarnate, revealed himself in his delegated relations as truly to the universe of the unfallen as to man, and as truly with reference to results yet future as to those incipient events in which were laid the foundations of his onward, universal, and never-ending system of manifestations and agencies, and in the progress of which all the wonders of mercy and justice, all the retributions of time and awards of eternity, all the paradoxes and mysteries of the past, and their relations to the future, are to be disclosed, vindicated, and rendered luminous to the apprehension of intelligent creatures. The eternal purposes which were purposed in him before the foundation of the world, and the sequel of the covenants, prescriptions, promises, comminations, symbols, and predictions which, in connection with the first of their respective series of events, were announced to the patriarchs and prophets, await the future for their ever-widening range of illustration and accomplishment. The scene is but begun. The first steps only of an endless progress, the first events only of a continuous, inseparable, and endless series, the first disclosures only of a boundless range of development by the same divine Actor and Revealer, have yet transpired. The earth as his footstool is yet to be the scene of the restitution of all things. His early footsteps on it are to be retraced in a renewed paradise, and the visible manifestations of the past to be resumed, when all that is recorded of Him in his offices and his administration, and his intercourse with the first Adam, and with the patriarchs and prophets, will be understood and heeded as of the scheme and fabric of his glory.
Continuation of the subject of the preceding Chapter--Combined influence of Rabbinical and figurative Interpretations--German method of Hebrew study--Preposterous notion of the inadequacy of Language as a vehicle of Thought.
There is a view of the ill effects of the combined influence of the education and Rabbinical example and prescription under which our translation was produced, which would confirm the foregoing observations, were it competently traced in connection with the no less imposing and effective influence of the system of allegorical, mystical, and figurative interpretation which prevailed from and after the days of Origen. Had our translators not been spell-bound by the influence first above-mentioned, they would have been impelled by their Protestantism, their piety, and their good sense, to discard the latter. Had they discerned the real meaning, official reference, and literal import of the designations above considered, and of the references, manifestations, and acts ascribed in connection with them to the Messiah, and recognized him as the One often visible and always acting Administrator and Revealer, they could not have failed to give a translation with which allegorical, mystical or tropical interpretations of the literal language of the historical, and the literal announcements of the prophetic portions of the Scriptures, would have been palpably incongruous and inadmissible. But the one influence, by keeping the Messiah personally, and in respect to his offices and agency, out of sight, or as nearly so as possible, was not repugnant to the other system, which contemplated Him only as foreshadowed by types and figures, prophetic symbols and mystical allusions, as though the first manifestation of his official agency was not intended to occur till his incarnation.
Unlike the fixed and imperative rules which governed the use of the Masoretic points, this figurative system was subject to no conditions or restraints other than such as might exist in the imaginations of individuals. It furnished no just discrimination or definition of the different figures of speech, of their object, or of their legitimate use, nor pretended to give a reason why any word was in any given case said to be used figuratively, or to have a figurative instead of a literal import. It neither descended to such particulars, nor was in any way dependent on them. The fact that every word in a given sentence was employed by the writer in the most strictly literal sense, was no sign that it must of course be construed literally, nor hindrance of Origen or his followers, orthodox or Swedenborgian, down to the present day, from giving the whole or any portion of it a figurative meaning, and, maugre its obvious literal import, making it refer to something or any thing, past, present, or future, which the fancy of the expositor might suggest.
Under this system, it is easy to see how the literal designations and literal statements of the Old Testament relating to the Messiah, the visible appearances, special interpositions, and various acts ascribed to him; and the literal announcements of the prophecies concerning his yet future manifestations, the descendants of his ancient covenant people, Jerusalem, the millennium, &c., &c., may be obscured, mystified, misconstrued, or wholly explained away.
Under the hitherto unrestrained predominance of these two fountains of influence, the current of Hebrew learning has for the most part been restricted to the grammatical study of the text and its real or fancied difficulties and defects. The Germans, who lead the way, set out with the assumption that the student is to regard the Bible as differing in no respect from other books. He is to take it in hand just as he would if he had never heard of its claim of inspiration or of Divine authority, of the attributes and perfections of its Author, of his works of creation and providence, or any thing of the religion which it teaches. With no guiding theory of the great scheme of the Creator and Ruler of the world, and of his method of carrying it into effect; with no conviction that in a volume inspired by Him, that scheme and method must constitute the leading and pervading theme, and be so prominent as to render the petty difficulties and obscurities he may meet with of no account; they seem to enter upon the study as we may suppose one of the natives of our ancient forests, with no other knowledge of art than was required in the construction of his cabin, would enter upon the task of learning the architectural theory which governed the construction of an immense and complicated edifice, with the objects and uses of the whole and of each constituent part, by examining separately and in detail duplicates of each particular brick, stone, timber, nail, hinge, clamp, latch, and every other material and element of the finished structure. After wearying himself with this undertaking, he would be apt either to abandon it, content with what he had learned of the disconnected elementary materials, or to form an erroneous theory of their relations and uses, if united in conformity with the model; or else to conclude, despite the model before him, that the separate pieces could not be combined in one harmonious whole; that no theory would account for such a result, and that all that could be done was to study them separately, ascertain their separate uses, and discover their defects; that though, to superficial observers, apparently united in the stately edifice, they were not really united, but were of diverse natures and different ages, fashioned and added by many different builders at widely distant periods; and that the structure was but a mass of patchwork, the result of what the successive builders added to the work of their predecessors, each bringing his own peculiar materials, and pursuing the style of architecture prevalent in his own day; and therefore to comprehend it the student must take the portion of each builder separately, and make it his object to investigate and criticize the materials and style employed by him, compare each with all the others, enumerate their defects, and in the end show that, viewed collectively, the whole is but a mass of discordant materials, clumsily arranged, with innumerable defects, inconsistencies, superfluities, erroneous combinations, and objects as diverse and various as the capacities, tastes, and circumstances of the several builders.
If this, as an illustration of the modern German method of studying the Hebrew Scriptures, is in any degree exaggerated, it is yet probably exact enough to account for the worse than Rabbinical, worse than Popish, worse than Mohammedan results--neological infidelity, both with respect to the Old and the New Testaments, and atheism with respect to their Author. Doubtless there are exceptions--here and there a Lot escaping for his life from this critical Sodom. The reference is to the general and notorious results.
The system virtually begins with a denial of the Divine origin and authority of the Scriptures, and a degradation of them to the level of the works of heathen authors, and as a system, pursued under the influences above referred to, is no better calculated to lead the student to a right apprehension and knowledge of the great theme and connected chain of things revealed, than the study of insects, under the name of the science of entomology, is calculated to enable the student to conceive, understand, and comprehend the doctrines of the Newtonian philosophy.
Among the results of this course of things, it is obvious to notice the wide-spread, notorious, and effective sentiment of doubt and uncertainty as to the claims of the Scriptures in respect to the most important facts and doctrines, among the learned, scientific and professional men extensively on both sides of the Atlantic. Hence the origin, popularity, and influence of the geological doctrines concerning the antiquity of the earth, successive creations or developments, diversity of origin of different families of the human race, and various kindred matters. The excited minds of scientific men, unsatisfied, unestablished, and misled by the results of Rabbinical and neological study and criticism, have appealed from the Scripture records to the fossil relics of what they fancy to have been a world of immeasurably higher antiquity than that of whose creation Moses is the historian. They seek there, and imagine that they discover, engraven on the rocks, an earlier revelation, a more correct chronology, a higher and more intelligible theory of the origin, progress, uses, and ends of the earth, its changes, and its families of rational and irrational inhabitants. And finally the better portion of this great school, as the only means left of guarding the rising generation from blank atheism, recommend the institution of professorships of Natural Theology, that, by a due exhibition to them of the evidences of geological and other natural sciences, they may, if possible, be convinced that there is a God!
Another result is obvious in the still more extended influence among all classes, learned, religious, ignorant and skeptical, of the discovery--made, probably, or adopted, alike by the Talmudists and Origen though not openly professed as a clue to their productions--that language is a very inadequate, imperfect, indeterminate vehicle of thought; an uncertain, incompetent, unreliable means of expressing men's ideas. The incautious, half demented inheritors of this discovery, however, apprehending, in the present condition of things, no danger of injury to their intellectual, professional, literary or religious reputation, proclaim it as boldly and unreservedly as if it were universally admitted and confirmed by universal experience. Out of charity or out of hypocrisy towards their readers, indeed, or because they consider themselves exceptions to a general rule, applicable, in their view, even to the penmen of the sacred writings, they directly profess and apply this fancied discovery only in relation to the language of Scripture and to that of orthodox creeds and confessions. In this they feel secure of the acquiescence of the great majority of all descriptions, and, but for their heresies in other relations, and having other bearings, would feel in other respects, as well as in this, secure of the learned among the orthodox.
It is obvious how, by this device, the Arch-enemy wins and secures his prey among those who have the oracles of God; as of old among the heathen by his own oracles, the responses from which were ever capable of several meanings, from among which the consulting party might adopt the one most agreeable to his wishes, feelings, and emotions.
Relation of the antagonism between the Messiah and the great Adversary to the local, personal, and visible Manifestations of the former--Modes of Visibility on the part of the latter, through human agents and various instrumentalities.
The antagonism between the Messiah and the great Adversary, which, in the Scriptures, is conspicuous in all that relates to idolatry and other principal forms of impiety, and the means employed to counteract and punish them, strongly implies and confirms the reality and visibility of the local personal appearances and acts recorded of the delegated Person. The scene of that antagonism was on the earth. It involved an abiding enmity and active hostility between the followers of the respective leaders, separated the descendants of Adam into two hostile parties, and was carried on by means of their visible agency in all the forms in which they could express their inward sentiments, and in all the relations they sustained to the Divine Lawgiver, to the Arch-apostate, and to one another. In so far, then, as their acts and doings were visible in carrying on this warfare, it was requisite that the means of opposing, counteracting and condemning them should be visibly exhibited, that they might be observed, rightly judged of, and productive of appropriate moral effects.
But granting this to be apparent from the nature of the case, so far as concerns the agency of righteous men on one side, and that of wicked men on the other; it may at first be thought not to require any visible manifestations or acts of the Divine leader of the righteous, any more than of the apostate leader of the wicked. The sequel may show that such visibility in respect to both was exhibited; by the one, to whom it occasioned no difficulty in any respect, in whatever mode, and to whatever extent he pleased; by the other, in whatever ways it was possible for him to render himself visible, by subjecting the bodies of men or of inferior animals to his possession and control, and through their physical organs acting and speaking, and thereby giving visibility to his acts and audible utterance to his words; or by counterfeit apparitions, and by such arts and jugglery as his followers, the magicians of Egypt and elsewhere, practised with such success as to render their apparent acts undistinguishable from real ones.
That he had the power of occupying and actuating the bodies of men and of inferior animals, is shown by what is recorded of him and of the demons under him, in the New Testament; and it is very evident from what was said by the Jews on various occasions, that such possessions were no matter of surprise or doubt; and that they well understood that it was Satan, Baal-Zebub, the prince of the demons, that was cast out by the power of Christ, is evident from his question when answering them on one occasion, "How can Satan cast out Satan?"
In that which, from the events in Eden to the day of Pentecost, was remarkable as a dispensation of visible agencies and results, visible teachings, rites, ordinances, institutions, mercies and judgments, manifestations and events, the Adversary carried on his system of hostility and rivalry by visible agents and instruments, as will be illustrated with reference to the all but universal system of idolatry of which he was the head under the name of Baal, and in which he was represented by visible images without number, and had innumerable priests and counterfeits of all the visible accompaniments of the system prescribed for the worship of Jehovah.
In the progress of that dispensation it is observable, not only that the Divine Messenger appeared in the visible likeness, and, at its close, in the nature of man, but also that created spiritual beings, angels, appeared visibly from time to time, and at the advent, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The power of rendering themselves visible, if it resided in the unfallen angels, and was a condition of their nature, is likely to have been retained and exercised by the fallen. And if--as hypocrites, by their outward and visible acts, make themselves appear to be honest and true--Satan can deceive by assuming the appearance of an angel of light, he is likely to have exercised that power in every way possible to him and conducive to his ends. Possessing capacities little conceived of or comprehended by mortals; capacities indicated by the attitude of opposition and rivalship which he assumed towards his Creator and rightful Sovereign, the omnipotent and omniscient One; by the boldness and perseverance of his rebellion, the vastness of the results which he accomplished in the seduction of his celestial followers, and the ruin of this world, the indescribable audacity of his personal encounter in the wilderness with the incarnate Word, and the still more amazing desperateness of the conflicts predicted in the Apocalypse; who can doubt but that he had at all times ways and means of rendering his agency visible, directly and by instruments at his command?
It is plain, from the narrative of the temptation in the wilderness, that he was locally present, and in a way implying relations to physical things analogous to those of men; to the atmosphere, as the medium of sound and of vision; to the earth, as a basis of locomotion; that he uttered words and exerted physical power. So in the narrative of Job, and that of the scene in Paradise, to specify no others, such physical and visible acts are ascribed to him as plainly as acts visibly of a similar nature are affirmed of the two angels who, with Jehovah, came to Abraham in the form of men, partook as men of his repast, and at parting from Jehovah and Abraham, "turned their faces and went towards Sodom."
His policy as a deceiver would have been defeated, had he stood forth manifest in such form to mortal eyes as clearly to identify him, and expose his malignity and betray his evil designs towards the human race, while yet in a state of probation with reference to their repentance and salvation. He succeeded with them, for the most part, by subtlety, craft, falsehood exhibiting counterfeit resemblances of goodness, and working through visible agents actuated by him, and instrumentalities which served as screens. Thus, in the first temptation, having no alternative prior to the fall, he actuated an irrational creature, erect, perhaps, originally, in form, and otherwise preëminently adapted to his purpose, but afterwards by the curse (denounced on the visible agent as an intelligent person, in whom the fallen spirit and the animal were united as by a mock incarnation) degraded to crawl upon the ground, and called the serpent; while the actuating intelligent agent was forewarned of the enmity and prolonged hostility which would ensue between him and his followers and the race which he had seduced. The narrative, 1 Kings xxii. 19-23, shows that Satan could inspire false prophets, sorcerers and magicians; and the exercise of that power is doubtless to be supposed in respect to all those who are called false prophets, sorcerers, diviners, &c.; those who inquired of Baal-Zebub, or consulted any of the oracles of the idolatrous party.
There are in the annals of sorcery and witchcraft innumerable illustrations of the agency, pretensions and purposes of the Evil One in securing the homage of men, and employing them as instruments of his antagonism. The following notices are taken from "Narratives of Sorcery and Magic, from the most authentic sources. By Thomas Wright, M. A., F. S. A." This work relates chiefly to the sentiments, practices, judicial trials, confessions and executions of sorcerers and magicians, in the thirteenth and four ensuing centuries, in England, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, and other countries of Europe. A belief in sorcery, as a kind of supernatural agency, was then universally prevalent, and was manifested in two different forms, sorcery and magic. "The magician differed from the witch in this: that while the latter was an ignorant instrument in the hands of the demons, the former had become their master by the powerful intermediation of a science which was only within the reach of a few, and which these beings were unable to disobey." Of this _science_ there were several schools in Europe. The professed object of those who studied it was to acquire the power of coercing the Evil One. In practice, the magicians, tempted by ambition, avarice, or some other passion, generally made "the final sacrifice," that is, formally sold their souls to Satan. Thus, in the tenth century, "Gerbert is said to have sold himself, on condition of being made a pope."
"The witch held a lower degree in the scale of forbidden knowledge. She was a slave without recompense; she had sold herself without any apparent object, unless it were the mere power of doing evil." "It has been an article of popular belief, from the earliest period of the history of the nations of western Europe, that women were more easily brought into connection with the spiritual world than men; priestesses were the favorite agents of the deities of the ages of paganism. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the power of the witches to do mischief was derived from a direct compact with the Demon, [Devil,] whom they were bound to worship with certain rites and ceremonies, the shadows of those which had, in remoter ages, been performed in honor of the pagan gods." In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, "the witches met together by night, in solitary places, to worship their master, who appeared to them in the shape of a cat or a goat, or sometimes in that of a man. At these meetings they had feasts, and some were appointed to serve at table, while others received reward or punishment, according to their zeal in the service of the Evil One. Hither also they brought children which they had stolen from their cradles, and which were sometimes torn to pieces and devoured. We see here the first outlines of the witches' 'Sabbath' of a later age."
In the progress of the narratives there are abundant testimonies to the following opinions and practices:
1. That it was Satan, the arch-apostate, personally, with whom they entered into compact; selling to him their souls for a consideration, and covenanting to worship and serve him, and to renounce Christ and blaspheme his name.
Thus, in the confession of a Dr. Fian, of Scotland, of "the origin of his acquaintance with the Devil," while meditating how he should be revenged of his landlord, "The Devil suddenly made his appearance, clad in white raiment, and said to him, 'Will ye be my servant, and adore me, and ye shall never want?' The Doctor assented to the terms, and, at the suggestion of the Evil One, revenged himself." And in that of Ganfridi, a French Catholic priest: "The Demon appeared to him in a human form, and said to him, 'What do you desire of me?'" After stating what he wanted, "the Demon promised to grant him his desires, on condition that he would give up to him entirely his 'body, soul, and works;' to which he agreed," excepting only to his performing the sacraments as a priest.
2. They had what they termed "Sabbaths," when they met for the worship of Satan; and also periodical feasts, appointed on days set apart for festivals of the Romish Church.
Ganfridi, the priest above mentioned, "gave an account of the Sabbaths, at which he was a regular attendant. When he was ready to go--it was usually at night--he either went to the open window of his chamber, or proceeded through the door into the open air. There Lucifer made his appearance, and took him in an instant to their place of meeting, where the orgies of the witches and sorcerers lasted usually from three to four hours. Ganfridi divided the victims of the Evil One into three classes: the novices, the sorcerers, and the magicians. On arriving at the meeting, they all worshipped the Demon, according to their several ranks; the novices falling flat on their faces, the sorcerers kneeling with their heads and bodies humbly bowed down, and the magicians, who stood highest in importance, only kneeling. After this they all went through the formality of denying God and the saints. Then they had a diabolical service in burlesque of that of the Church, at which the Evil One served as priest in a violet chasuble; the elevation of the demon host was announced by a wooden bell, and the sacrament itself was made of unleavened bread. The scenes of unutterable licentiousness which followed, resembled those of other witch meetings."
In the early part of the seventeenth century, in Labourd, at the south-west corner of France, nearly all the families of a population of thirty thousand were subjects of sorcery. At their "Sabbaths," which were numerously attended every Wednesday and Friday night, "Satan, seated on a throne, appeared in the shape of a large black man with horns, and sometimes in other forms. The ceremonies of worship, the feasting, the dance, and the license which followed, are described in all their particulars, in a multitude of confessions."
In Navarre, the delusion was no less prevalent. The ordinary Sabbaths were held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening. "The form assumed by the Demon was that of a man with a sad and choleric countenance, very black and very ugly. He was seated on a lofty throne, black as ebony, and sometimes gilt, with all the accessories calculated to inspire reverence. On his head was a crown of small horns, with two larger ones behind, and another larger one on the forehead. It was the latter which gave a light somewhat greater than that of the moon, but less than that of the sun, which served to illumine the assembly. His eyes were large and round, and terrible to look at; his beard like that of a goat, and the lower part of his body had the form of that animal, &c. His worship was conducted with the same forms and ceremonies as in Labourd. After the worship of the Demon followed a travestie of the Christian mass; after the mass, the usual licentiousness, then the feast. Before they left, the Demon preached to them on the duties they had contracted towards him, exhorted them to go and injure their fellow-creatures, and to practise every kind of wickedness, and gave them powders and liquors for poisoning and destroying. He often accompanied them himself when some great evil was to be done."
3. In the confessions of those who were tried and executed, it is related in numerous instances that they had, on their first admission at the Sabbath rites and orgies, formally renounced Christ, and uttered blasphemous expressions. It was an article of their compact that they should not, at any of their assemblies, mention the name of Christ; (an interdict similar to that of the Yezzidis, or worshippers of Satan, near Mosul, mentioned by M. Layard;) and it is affirmed that whenever his name was inadvertently articulated, the assembly was instantly dispersed.
4. It was held that the initiated received from the Evil One a particular mark on their persons, to distinguish them as his; that Satan often appeared to them unexpectedly in the form of a goat, a black dog, a cat, a horse, or a toad; and that each new witch received a toad, cat, or other animal, as an imp or familiar to attend them constantly. They pretended to raise storms, destroy vessels and crops, torment and kill animals and men by their sorcery; and for such crimes many thousands of them were accused, tried, and put to death.
Illustration of the subject of the last Chapter, exhibiting the Antagonism as carried on by visible agencies, instrumentalities, and events, in the plagues of Egypt and at the Red Sea.
There is a striking instance of this antagonism carried on by visible agencies, instrumentalities, and events, in the narrative of the plagues of Egypt, under the immediate direction of the Messenger Jehovah, after his appearance to Moses in the burning bush; of which plagues it was repeatedly declared to be the object on the one hand to convince the children of Israel, and by rehearsal to their descendants to convince them that he was indeed Jehovah; and on the other, to cause Pharaoh and the Egyptians to know that he was the Self-existent, and to cause his name to be declared throughout all the earth. Pharaoh, and the priests of Baal, and the wise men, the sorcerers and magicians, like Ahab and the prophets and votaries of Baal in his time; and Nebuchadnezzar and the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans of his, were to witness miraculous and resistless proofs that Jehovah, the Elohe of Abraham and Israel, was the only living and true God, the Creator, proprietor, and ruler of the world, and that their idolatry was an imposture and a cheat. In this, as in the other and all similar instances of a public formal conflict of the great antagonists and their agents, to determine which should be acknowledged as supreme, and be obeyed and worshipped, the demonstrations on the part of Jehovah were resisted, step by step, by the Adversary and his party, till they were overpowered, shown to be false pretenders, terrified, exposed, and confounded.
Jehovah directed Moses and Aaron, when they appeared before Pharaoh, and were required by him "to show a miracle" in support of their pretensions, to cast down the rod they were to carry, and it should become a serpent--the animal with which the name and personal history of Satan were intimately associated, and whose visible form was familiar among the material images, representative of him under the name of Baal, from the earliest times; the animal which he entered and actuated in Eden, and which, doubtless, he could enter and actuate again, and by jugglery employ rods in his exhibition. "And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent;" as much as to say, Here is a miracle, producing before your eyes the god, the visible image and representative of the god whom you worship. But we may suppose Pharaoh to have said, This we can do: this only shows the power of our god, and is to no purpose as evidence on your side. "Then Pharaoh called the wise men and the sorcerers, and the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their _enchantments_; for they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents." This satisfied him. Similar feats had probably often satisfied him before. Visible effects of power in the production, apparently, of living animals, were manifest to his senses. The sequel, in the fact that "Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods," belonged to another category. If he regarded it as the moderns regard written language, he would be satisfied by calling it "figurative," or saying it was equivocal, and had no fixed or determinate meaning.
The nature of the conflict, and the visibility of the instruments and results, are thus sufficiently apparent. To the view of the beholders, the coincidence of the power of the unseen agent on the one side, with the act of Aaron and his rod as an instrument, and on the other, with the acts of the magicians and their rods, appeared alike. From aught that was apparent, if Moses and Aaron wrought their miracle by the power and will of Jehovah, the magicians wrought theirs by the power and will of their god. It was a miracle transcending the efforts of mortal power, and superior to that by which the magicians acted, that Pharaoh required. Nothing else would meet the case. But as he viewed it, this experiment was not conclusive.
At the next trial, Aaron, in the presence of Pharaoh and his servants, "lifted up the rod and smote the waters that were in the river, and they were turned into blood." The fish died, "and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt." "And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and Pharaoh's heart was hardened." The experiment of the magicians, in this case, must have been on a very limited scale, for it appears from the narrative that there was no water to be had for seven days, but such as was obtained by digging near the river. Still, if they apparently produced the effect on ever so small a quantity, those who trusted in them would be satisfied. The Nile was a leading object of Egyptian idolatry, as an instrument and emblem of the munificence of the god of that idolatry, whose superiority and power were argued from the vast benefits occasioned by the river, without the aid or inconvenience of clouds and rain. The miracle was therefore a public and signal rebuke of their idolatry, affecting directly every inhabitant of the land, and a stupendous demonstration of the supremacy of Jehovah. But the arts and instrumentality of the magicians counteracted its effect.
The ensuing trial, which constituted the second plague, covered the land, the houses, furniture, utensils, and the people themselves, with myriads of loathsome frogs, one of the sacred animals of their idol system, and of the progeny of their sacred river, consecrated to the sun, and, by reason of its inflations, deemed an emblem of inspiration. They were thus confounded by the insupportable multitude and offensiveness of one of the objects of their idol worship, sent forth by another, as if purposely to punish them. After the usual announcements and directions, "Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt: and the magicians did so with their _enchantments_, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt." Their enchantments in this case seem to have had no favorable effect. The frogs brought up by them must have aggravated the already intolerable evil. Pharaoh begged Moses to entreat Jehovah to remove the plague, and promised in that case to let the people go. Moses consented, so that Pharaoh, by the counter miracle, "might know that there is none like unto Jehovah, the Elohe of the Hebrews."
The third plague, more tormenting to the persons of the Egyptians than the preceding, baffled and silenced the magicians. "Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast; and the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their _enchantments_ to bring forth lice, but they could not. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of Elohim." But his heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them.
In the preceding instances, Pharaoh and the magicians had been forewarned as to what kind of evil was to be inflicted, and had time to prepare their enchantments. When (the sun excepted) the chief of all the natural objects of their idolatry was to be changed into blood, so as to destroy the fish, and put a stop to all the benefits for which they deified it, the miracle was in itself calculated to be perfectly conclusive, and Moses was directed to say to Pharaoh, "In this thou shalt know that I am Jehovah." And when the progeny of their sacred river were to be brought up in such masses as to cover the whole land and all the objects in it, so that they could not move without destroying those deified creatures, they were specially forewarned, and had time to arrange and work their enchantments with as much success as in our own day attends the workers of Popish miracles.
But in this last instance they had no previous notice. It was an experiment, doubtless, that they had never tried, they could do nothing without enchantments; they had no jugglery prepared for such a case; they were baffled, disgraced, and thrust aside: and in what follows, the utter and desperate malignity of sin is shown in such obstinacy, hardihood, and perseverance on the part of Pharaoh and his people, as has a parallel only in Satan and his angels. Occasionally, indeed, under the most appalling terrors of mind and sufferings of body, conscious that Jehovah had absolute power over all creatures and all elements, and that new and unknown horrors awaited them, some momentary concessions were extorted from their physical fears and agonies.
On the infliction of the plague of flies, (another of the deified or idolized representatives of Baal,) Pharaoh, to convince him that Jehovah was the same as the Elohe of the Hebrews, and that his supremacy and power were universal over all the earth, was told that while this plague should fall upon him, and upon his servants and people, and into their houses, and upon the ground, it should not touch the Hebrews. "I will sever the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; _to the end thou mayest know that I am Jehovah in the midst of the earth_." In this, as in the case of the frogs, and equally, it is presumed, in the case of the lice, they were necessitated to destroy multitudes of idolized creatures, representative of Baal, and thus by their own acts, as well as by their sufferings, to show that he was not able to protect his representatives, or those who worshipped him through them. Pharaoh hypocritically relented till, on the entreaty of Moses, Jehovah removed this plague.
In the inflictions which followed, each was more appalling and terrific than those which preceded. They were introduced by special announcements of their object, their intensity, and their effects; a set time was specified for their occurrence, and in each case the land of Goshen was exempted. They were such as most unequivocally to demonstrate the almighty power of Jehovah, the reason of their being visited upon the Egyptians, the nature and bearings of the controversy, and the antagonist position and character of the parties. Jehovah, displaying his prerogatives and his righteousness in the visible effects of his power, "executed judgment against all the gods of Egypt." By the fifth plague, the idolized animals, models of the molten calves, with all the cattle of Egypt, were destroyed. By the sixth, the sacred persons, the priests, magicians, sorcerers, with all the people, high and low, were tormented with boils and blains, so that "the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boils." This being ineffectual, the grounds of the controversy were again particularized, and more terrible inflictions threatened. "I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth." Then Jehovah "sent thunder, and hail, and fire; and the fire [or lightning] ran upon the ground; and the hail smote man and beast, and herbs and trees; only in the land of Goshen there was no hail."
The air, which was the medium of the pestilential boils, and was an element of this terrific storm, unprecedented in Egypt or elsewhere, was, equally with the other elements, water and fire, idolized as an instrument, medium, or vehicle of Baal; fire being arrogated as his attribute or element, and the sun as his shekina: and being so regarded by the Egyptians, it was shown in the most awful and appalling manner that Jehovah exercised the most absolute control over them. Pharaoh, under the impulse of amazement and terror, sent for Moses and Aaron, and said: "I have sinned this time: Jehovah is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Entreat Jehovah (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail, and I will let you go." Moses replied, promising to do this, and that the storm should cease, that Pharaoh "might know how that the earth is Jehovah's;" that is, that he might be convinced and know that the earth, the elements, and all creatures were Jehovah's, and not Baal's, and that he might renounce Baal, and acknowledge Jehovah. But "when Pharaoh saw that the rain, and the hail, and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants." No demonstration was or would be sufficient to end the controversy, so long as the relentless Adversary behind the scenes could, through their base propensities and depraved wills, delude and instigate his Egyptian vassals. The lesson to be taught to the Israelites and others, concerned not those hardened mortals only, but their subtle deceiver, and they, as subjects and instruments of his.
When the plague of locusts was threatened, Pharaoh's servants remonstrated with him, and urged him to let the people go; and he sent for Moses and Aaron, and proposed that the men should go, and leave their families and flocks behind. This being totally refused, they were fearfully scourged by another of their idolized insects, in the destruction of every herb and plant, and all that the hail had left. This extorted from Pharaoh another confession: "I have sinned against Jehovah your Elohe, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat Jehovah your Elohe that he may take away from me this death only."
Next the plague of dense total darkness for three days was sent upon all the Egyptians, so that "they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place." Thus the chief visible object of their idolatrous homage, the imputed residence and shekina of Baal, was excluded from their view, and all acts of idolatry and access to images precluded. Pharaoh now showed a degree of angry desperation; and after offering to let the people go without their flocks, and those terms being rejected, he drove Moses from his presence, and threatened his life if he saw him again.
There remained yet one more plague, the instant destruction of all the first-born of Egypt at the dead of night, which so terrified the whole population with dread of immediate and utter extermination, that with one voice they urged the departure without delay of all the Israelites, with all their flocks and goods, and with whatever gifts and supplies they wished. "And they took their journey; and Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night."
Thus the Messenger Jehovah, who introduced this train of visible wonders by appearing to Moses in the burning bush, signalized the triumphant rescue and march of his people out of Egypt by reäppearing, and going before them in the cloud-like appendage, visibly luminous as fire by night, and as an irradiant form by day, which continued as the constant signal of his presence during the whole period of their wanderings in the wilderness.
But their departure, which took place in the night, was no sooner made known to the Egyptians than "the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against them." They reproached themselves for having let them go, and were infatuated to pursue and bring them back. "And all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his army pursued and overtook them at the Red Sea." Still more stupendous exhibitions of power, supremacy and triumph on the one side, and of incurable and fatal delusion on the other, were required for the instruction and conviction of that and succeeding ages. "And Melach (the) Elohim, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them, and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these, so that the one came not near the other all the night."
Thus the final trial was arranged and conducted under the visible direction of the Messenger Jehovah. The sea was divided, and the hosts of Israel went over as on dry land. Pharaoh's chariots and army followed. "Jehovah looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled them;" threw them into consternation by "taking off their chariot wheels," and by causing the waters to return, overwhelmed and drowned them in the midst of the sea. "Thus Jehovah saved Israel, and Israel saw that great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared Jehovah, and believed Jehovah and his servant Moses."
The greatness and wonderfulness of this deliverance, as referred to and celebrated in other parts of Scripture, if regarded, not as a signal and never-to-be-forgotten triumph of the Messenger Jehovah over Satan, and the agents of his idolatry and imposture, but simply in its relation to the numbers, power, or unassisted skill of the Egyptians, are out of all proportion to the result. Instead of such an array of preparations, such threats and remonstrances, such a succession and selection of miracles and plagues, had the object been only to loosen their covetous hold on the labor and service of Israel, a single blow might as easily have destroyed them all in a moment as their first-born, or whelmed them in the Nile, as in the Red Sea. But their idolatry denied the supremacy, prerogatives, and rights of Jehovah, and ascribed them, not to irrational animals and senseless elements, except as vehicles and mediums of homage, but to an intelligent and powerful rival, competitor, and pretender to the throne and government of the world, who claimed, prescribed, and received their worship, arrogated the credit of bestowing the blessings of providence, sanctioned the indulgence of their passions, instigated their magical delusions, and had their confidence as to his power to protect them. It was to vindicate himself, and to confound that arrogant pretender, that Jehovah vouchsafed these demonstrations in the view of the Hebrews, who needed the lesson which they taught, and in a way to be rehearsed and known among the Canaanites and other nations of the earth. It was a marked and memorable scene in the progress of that great antagonism which hitherto has constituted the basis, and, however obscured to the blinded view of the actors, or concealed by their craft and policy, has furnished the elements of history, and is yet in the view of the whole universe, with all the accompaniments of publicity and conclusiveness, to have its issue.
It would require a chapter to refer to all the descriptions and allusions commemorative of this scene, in the triumphant song of Moses, recalled and sung, Rev. xv. 3, by the redeemed, in celebration of their resembling deliverance, to the praise of the Lamb as their Redeemer, whom they address as the Lord God Almighty--Jehovah, the Elohim; and in the Psalms, cxxxv., cxxxvi., and other Scriptures, where to Jehovah are referred the wonders done in Egypt and in the wilderness, which by Moses are ascribed to him as Melach Jehovah.
But, waiving these references, it may be noticed as an additional evidence that it was the Delegated One, the Personal Word, who, after appearing visibly to Moses, and investing him with his ministerial office, executed those wondrous demonstrations in Egypt, that, prior to the signal exercise of his power and justice by which he destroyed all the first-born of the opposing party, he instituted for the benefit and as auxiliary to the faith of his people, the ordinance of the passover; of which, the slaughter of the paschal lamb, the sprinkling of the blood as the means of exemption from death, and other details, had a counterpart in the circumstances, reference, import, and Scripture narrative of his sacrifice of himself, Christ our Passover sacrificed for us; the Lamb of God, slain virtually and in effect, as by covenant and oath, from the foundation of the world.
Further Illustration of the Antagonism--Idolatry a Counterfeit Rival System in opposition to the Messiah and the True Worship--Its Origin and Nature--Satan the God of it--The Tower of Babel devoted to his Worship--That Worship extended thence over the Earth at the Dispersion.
The illustration of this mighty and ceaseless conflict requires particular reference to the system of idolatry by which, in opposition and rivalship to the worship and service of Jehovah, Satan organized his followers under Nimrod; and on their dispersion to different regions of the globe, enslaved and held in bondage all the tribes and nations which they planted, and to which he at length seduced the kings, princes, priests, and all but a remnant of the chosen people. It was one comprehensive antagonist rival system, copied and counterfeited in all its leading features from the doctrines and ritual revealed to the race at first, and renewedly taught and practised by Noah, on his egress from the ark. In what forms the great Adversary had instigated the corruption and wickedness, and led on the masses of the race before the Deluge to their total destruction by that instrument of Jehovah's power, is but faintly intimated. The earth was filled with violence; and it is not unlikely that Cain's example in presenting, contrary to the Divine command and the ritual prescription, an offering not of blood, not typical of the expiatory sacrifice of Messiah, the promised Son, but an offering intended for the occasion, by its nature, and in contrast to that of Abel, to express his denial and rejection of the typical sacrifice and its antitype; and his sullen and arrogant denial of his being in the wrong, and needing an atonement and forgiveness; and the example of his persecuting malevolence, in killing his brother, may furnish a clue to the theory and practice of his party afterwards.
But while Noah, conformably to the earlier practice, erected an altar to Jehovah, offered typical offerings, and otherwise complied with the ritual, professed the doctrines, and exercised the faith of the revealed system of religion, and was a preacher of righteousness; his early descendants, like those of Adam, were soon separated into opposite parties of true and false worshippers.
The false or idolatrous party, originally characterized as the seed of the serpent, the followers and servants of Satan, having, under Nimrod--a name signifying rebel--united in their antagonist scheme, commenced the erection of the tower of Babel--otherwise Bel, Belus, or Baal--in Babylon.
From a comparison of the terms employed with reference to this structure, and the object and nature of the idolatry to which it was devoted; its history and that of the structures and idolatry of other countries which were copied from the model here furnished; the descriptions in the Scriptures of that idolatry, both as practised by the heathen and by the Israelites, and the references to it by Herodotus, Thucydides, and other secular historians, the following summary statement in the present and two succeeding chapters is believed to be well founded.
This tower or temple was originally destined, as it was afterwards devoted, to the worship of the great Adversary, who palmed himself upon his followers as god of this world, god of providence, bestower of benefits and blessings; the good principle or intelligence of the Babylonians, Persians, and other heathen nations, by whom he was regarded as a creature intermediate between the supreme, self-existent, invisible Being, and the human race, and in that character as creator and ruler of the world; having his residence in the sun as his tabernacle and shekina, and manifesting himself locally and at pleasure to his votaries in fire, as his element, and as the medium of their worship, sacrifices, incense, &c., and in light, and in the effects of the solar heat upon vegetation, and otherwise as causing the chief blessings and comforts of life. These visible objects and benefits appealed directly to the senses and the unrestrained passions of his followers, who, being at enmity with the righteous party, and irreconcilably opposed to the doctrines, duties, and restraints of their religion; and yet, as well from social considerations as from their natures as dependent creatures, requiring a substitute, a rival antagonist system, and a head and leader consistent with it, may well be supposed to have entered into this system with a zeal, a pertinacity and desperateness, not exceeded by their successors in Babylon or elsewhere, nor even by that of the apostate Jews, who, in direct opposition to the doctrines and worship of Jehovah, established in his temple this idol system, with its emblems and rites, and the public and formal worship of its god in the sun, most boldly and impiously turning their faces to the East, and their backs to the visible Shekina in the holy place.
The system of corruption, delusion, and bondage, by which the great Adversary commenced his second experiment of lordship over his party, and of renewed and perpetual hostility towards the righteous, and treason, rebellion, impiety, and insult towards Jehovah their Elohe, required not only to be such as would gratify their depraved hearts and grovelling passions, so as to insure success to his craft and subtlety, but to be contrived, adopted, and put in practice so as to unite, combine, and govern them, as soon as possible after the repeopling of the earth commenced.
That it was in fact contrived, adopted, and practised prior to the dispersion, is proved by the resumption and practice of it by the dispersed tribes and nations both in the Eastern and Western hemispheres: and that the nature, object, doctrines, rites, bearings, and ends of it, were originally well understood, and matter of common intelligence and notoriety, is proved by the close resemblance of the system, as established in other quarters of the world, to the model metropolitan establishment in Babylon.
This original tower or temple--which there is no reasonable ground to doubt continued near two thousand years, till Xerxes pillaged and destroyed it, together with the structures around it which had been added by Nebuchadnezzar--was six hundred feet square at the base, and six hundred feet in height, its cubic contents far exceeding those of the largest of the pyramids. It was devoted to the worship of the god of their idolatry, the intelligence to whom they ascribed the works of creation and providence, under the names Bel, Baal, Beelzebub, and other designations of Satan; and also to astronomical observations, which appear to have led to the appropriation, subsequently, of the moon to Astarte, consort of Baal and Queen of heaven, the prototype--not in respect to her moral character, which was wholly opposite, but to her mediating office--of the deified Mary of the Papists; and of the planets and stars, to subordinate auxiliary mediating demons of different species.
The projectors and architects of this great paragon and wonder of the world were not a horde of ignorant, wandering nomades. They had knowledge and arts adequate to an undertaking, whether considered merely as a physical undertaking, or in connection with the stupendous and enduring system of imposture, impiety, and misery it was devoted to, which has not been equalled since: and which may well be conceived of as sufficient to occasion the local and special interposition of the Messenger Jehovah to confound their language and scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Their astronomy, and probably their geometry and other abstruse branches of knowledge, were, at least in respect to their leading principles, not inferior to those of the present day. Prideaux, speaking of this tower, which he holds to be the same with that destroyed Xerxes, observes, that "when Alexander took Babylon, Callisthenes the philosopher, who accompanied him thither, found they had astronomical observations for nineteen hundred and three years backward from that time, which carrieth the account as high as the one hundred and fifteenth year after the flood, which was within fifteen years after the Tower of Babel was built. For the confusion of tongues, which followed immediately after the building of that tower, happened in the year wherein Peleg was born, which was an hundred and one years after the flood, and fourteen years after that, those observations began. This account Callisthenes sent from Babylon into Greece, to his master Aristotle," &c. (Book II., part 1.)
The system of Idolatry founded on a perversion of the Doctrine of Mediation--References to the Worshippers of Baal, Israelite and Pagan.
This system of idolatry was founded on the doctrine of mediation, which was the basis of the revealed system of true religion. But in the application of that doctrine, idolatry exhibited an entire perversion, ascribing the mediatorial office and relations, not to Messiah, the Messenger Jehovah, the one only Mediator between God and man, but to his adversary, antagonist, and competitor, who emphatically in this respect, and as creator and administrator of providence, arrogated the office, prerogatives, relations and works of Jehovah, the delegated Personal Word.
This consideration alone affords a clue to any intelligent understanding of the system in its details, or of the succeeding history of the antagonism; of the enormity and turpitude of idolatry as a crime; and of the amazing retributions and judgments which it called down upon the Canaanites and other nations devoted to the worship of Baal, and upon the Israelites on their apostatizing to that worship.
The doctrine of mediation and of one Divine Mediator, as it involved the relations of men to the Creator, moral and providential Ruler and Redeemer, was the basis and prime element in the patriarchal and Levitical economies, which prescribed a religion not merely for dependent, but for fallen, guilty creatures, no acts of whom, whether of obedience in performing ordinary duties, or of religious homage, sacrifices, prayers or offerings, could be accepted unless rendered in the exercise of faith in the appointed Mediator, and a consciousness of entire dependence on his merits, and the efficacy of his mediation, as the only ground of acceptance, and of the bestowment of blessings on them. Hence the typical sacrifices, and all the rites, ordinances, and prescriptions of that system.
But from the nature of the case, and the consciousness of dependence, helplessness and misery in those who turned away from the true worship, a sense of the necessity of mediation and a mediator must naturally have been felt by them, as well as by those of the other party. Without a sense of that necessity they would neither have projected nor adopted any religion whatever. It is the sole basis of all false religions. Those who have it not, must be classed with atheists or deists. The Jews who nominally reject the doctrine, and really reject the true Mediator, palpably contradict and pervert the religion which they profess, and virtually assign to their rites and forms the office of mediation.
Nothing can be more unlikely or more absurd than the supposition that nations, tribes, or individuals should contrive or adopt or persevere in the practice of a false religion, without a notion more or less correct, and a conviction more or less strong and effective, of the existence of a Supreme Being, to whose will the striking events of providence, the vicissitudes in their own experience, their acts, their prayers, their fears and hopes, had a real, though it might be a mysterious and incomprehensible, reference. But with such conviction, their false religion, naturally in theory, and necessarily in order to such effect upon their hopes and fears as to induce their perseverance in it, refers ultimately to that mysterious, unseen, and, without intermediate agencies and instruments of mediation, inaccessible Being. Such fears and such conviction, coupled with the uncertainties of the future, and with impending or foreboded evils, are, like instincts, deep seated, in the very nature of man. And hence, with reference to the false system under consideration, the facility, on the one hand, with which imposture, delusion, and desperate infatuation might take effect; and the absurdity, on the other hand, of supposing that Baal, whose tabernacle in the sun, and whose manifestations in fire, light, air or water were ever visibly or sensibly present and familiar; or that any of the animals consecrated to him, or of the representative material images of animate or inanimate, rational or irrational forms, called idols, were ever mistaken by any of his worshippers for that Being whom they regarded as supreme, ever invisible, and far removed from immediate intercourse and familiarity with mortals. Such a mistake would argue that the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Asiatics, Polynesians, Mexicans, and all other pagans, as well as the devotees of Popery, were more senseless than the animals, or even the material forms and figures, before which they bowed themselves down, and presented their gifts and offerings.
But not to waste words on so plain a matter, let it be illustrated by reference to Scripture. The Israelites were so terrified by the thunders and lightnings at the giving of the Law, when Jehovah spoke to them directly, that "they removed and stood afar off; and they said unto Moses: Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, for (the) Elohim has come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not." Ex. xx. Moses, referring to this, Deut. v., says: "Jehovah," that is, the Messenger Jehovah, "talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between Jehovah and you at that time, to show you the word of Jehovah: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, I am Jehovah thy Elohe, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other Elohim before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: For I, Jehovah thy Elohe, am a jealous El," &c. Shortly after this, Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel were called up into the mount, and "they saw the Elohe of Israel." Then Aaron and the others returned to the people, except Moses, who was called up into the cloud on the mount, and remained there forty days and forty nights. In the meantime, "the sight of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel." The appalling terrors of this sight, from which they were, at the announcement of the Law, so anxious to be relieved, being thus prolonged from week to week, and despairing of the return of their chosen interlocutor between Jehovah and them, the minds of the people reverted to the image representative of Baal, and with other images and idolized objects familiarly called Elohim, with which their sojourn in Egypt had made them acquainted: and they said to Aaron, "Up, make us Elohim which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." Aaron accordingly made a molten calf, "and they said, _This is thy Elohe_, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt:" plainly meaning, This image represents, is a visible representative of thy Elohe, and stands between him and us, as Moses, the man that brought us out of Egypt, stood between Jehovah and us at the giving of the Law. They wanted and deemed that they had in this molten image a visible representative of the Elohe of Israel. But no one can suppose that Aaron, after having witnessed the wonders in Egypt, and assisted Moses as an instrument of them, and, with the elders, "seen the Elohe of Israel" in the mount, could mistake and ascribe to the brute image the power and prerogatives of that Being; neither did the people imagine any thing to that effect. The crime of which they were guilty, and for which they were punished, was that of breaking a positive command; doing what was expressly forbidden; making a graven image; worshipping it as a representative emblem of Jehovah, and medium of their homage of him; placing it _before him_, between them and him, in imitation of the Egyptians, who made and worshipped similar images as the immediate, local, visible, familiar objects or media through which they offered their sacrifices and prayers to Baal. There is no intimation that they intended on this occasion to ascribe their deliverance from Egypt to Baal. On the contrary, they had witnessed the most amazing demonstrations in the plagues and at the Red Sea, that their deliverance was effected by the high hand and outstretched arm of Jehovah, in opposition to that adversary. They were required by sacrifices and prayers to worship the Elohe of Israel directly in spirit and in truth, conformably to the letter of their ritual, the divine doctrine of mediation, and his relations as the only Mediator between the invisible God and men. The introduction of a representative image or deified object between him and them, and offering burnt offerings in that relation, as Aaron did, was not only wholly inconsistent with the nature, theory, and ritual of their religion, and a flagrant act of disobedience; but was calculated to lead them, as it afterwards did, to renounce Jehovah, and turn away to the exclusive worship of Baal through the medium of idols. Against this tendency they were often cautioned and warned; and were commanded to destroy the images and altars of Baal wherever they encountered them. They were forbidden to inquire after the idol gods, or how the idolatrous nations served them, and were commanded to put to death members of their families, false prophets and others who should endeavor to entice them to idolatry, and utterly to destroy those who were enticed, with their families and all their effects. Deut. xii., xiii., &c.
The first public defection of any of the Israelites, or any considerable number of them, took place nearly forty years after the Exodus, when, in their forty-second journey, they entered the plain of Moab, and were seduced by the Moabites to attend "the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods, and Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor"--that is, Baal, as worshipped on the eminence called Peor, where the vilest abominations were practised. Twenty-four thousand of the people were slain in rebuke of this apostasy. Under the Judges, after the death of Joshua, the children of Israel "forsook Jehovah, and served Baal and Ashtaroth," Judges ii. 3, 6; and again in the reign of Ahab, who, having married Jezebel, a heathen woman and zealous devotee of that idolatry, built a house or temple of Baal in Samaria, erected an altar for him, and served and worshipped him.
In the meantime, however, there continued generally among the Israelites a restless propensity for such visible and familiar images as were common in Egypt and other nations, and which, notwithstanding the prohibition in the Decalogue, and the wrath incurred for the violation under Aaron, and in the plain of Moab, they seem to have deemed consistent with their religion, provided the worship offered through them was directed to Jehovah and not to Baal. Thus, in the narrative of Micah, Judges xvii., it appears that silver which had been dedicated to Jehovah was wrought into a graven image, not for any purpose of secret or heathenish idolatry, but as an instrument to be employed in his daily domestic worship of Jehovah. He accordingly engaged a Levite to officiate as priest, who, on the arrival of a company of Danites in search of a place to dwell in, made no secret of his occupation. Micah, on engaging him, said, "Now know I that Jehovah will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest;" which plainly implies that he professed to worship Jehovah, and to expect benefits only from him. An illustration to the like effect is furnished in the history of Gideon, a true worshipper of Jehovah, to whom the Messenger Jehovah appeared, and who, in obedience to his command, destroyed the altar of Baal; and yet, after having been the instrument, with three hundred men, of the destruction of the kings of Midian, and of an army of one hundred and twenty thousand, took of the spoils of gold, and made an ephod and put it in his city; an imitation no doubt of that prescribed to Moses, but intended, at a distance from the tabernacle, as an instrument of worshipping and consulting Jehovah; but which, as naturally as if it had been a graven image, became a snare to him and to the people.
Another illustration occurs in the history of Jeroboam, late a refugee and perhaps idolater in Egypt, who, fearing that if the people of the ten tribes, and the Levites who dwelt among them, should continue to go up to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah in the temple, their hearts would be turned from him to Rehoboam as their rightful king, "made two calves of gold, and said unto the people, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy Elohe, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin." Doubtless the people regarded these graven images in the same light as that made under the direction of Aaron; for, with the exception of the priests and Levites, they acquiesced in the change, though a week before they were ready, as subjects of the legitimate successor of Solomon, to continue in the established worship of Jehovah in the temple. The priests and Levites were expelled as too closely connected with the service in Jerusalem; new priests were appointed, and the same rites were observed before the images as before Jehovah in the temple. And when Jehu, in his zeal for Jehovah, slew all the partisans of Baal, he still adhered to the golden calves in Dan and Bethel, as not in his view inconsistent with the true worship. 2 Kings x.
In the same class of acts, in point of turpitude, and in respect to the apparent intention of the actors and the tendency of their acts, may be included that of Nadab and Abihu, in "offering _strange fire_ before Jehovah, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from Jehovah and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah;" and that of Korah and his company, who usurped the priests' office and burned incense, and were destroyed with their families and fourteen thousand of their adherents.
These illustrations show that the worship rendered to images did not terminate in them as its object, but referred to an unseen Intelligence beyond them, who was supposed to be cognizant of their circumstances and their acts, and to be able to protect them and grant their requests. It proceeded on the assumption that the visible emblem, the graven image, or whatever was selected by individuals or canonized by the priests, and worshipped as an idol--the proper signification of which is, a figure, likeness, or representation--was a medium of intercourse with the Being worshipped.
This was the case, not merely with the Israelites in their use of images in the real or pretended worship of Jehovah, but equally of the devoted worshippers of Baal. A few references out of many which might be made, will show that their prayers and offerings were directed to the unseen object of their homage. Thus, in the formal controversy between Elijah, as prophet of Jehovah, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, to demonstrate by fire, to Ahab and the people, which was supreme, whether Jehovah or _the_ Baal was _the_ Elohim to be worshipped and obeyed; Elijah proposed that each party should offer a sacrifice of animals, and let it be seen which would be miraculously consumed, and said: "Call ye on the name of your Elohe,"--rendered here and elsewhere erroneously _gods_ in the plural, as if there were more than one Baal,--"and I will call on the name of Jehovah; and _the_ Elohim that answereth by fire, let him be the Elohim. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of _the_ Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first, for ye are many, and call on your Elohe; but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of _the_ Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O _the_ Baal, hear us! But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar that was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud, for he is an Elohim; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves, after their manner, with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." 1 Kings xviii.
In this case there does not appear to have been any intervening image or idol. The priests called on the name of the absent, invisible Baal, but he answered not. He could not assist them by working a real miracle, and under the circumstances they could not counterfeit one; and with the approbation of the people, who saw that they were impostors, they were all slain.
That the real object of their worship was distinct from their images, is implied in their selecting high places for their religious rites, and erecting lofty towers for that purpose, where the sun could be earliest seen at rising, and where the stars or host of heaven could be most advantageously observed; and in burning their children as sacrifices, making them pass through the fire to Baal or Moloch. Thus, in the reign of Ahaz, 2 Kings xvii., "They made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire." Manasseh made his son pass through the fire; and in Josiah's reformation he put down the idolatrous priests "that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun [literally, to Baal, the sun] and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven." 2 Kings xxiii. Jeremiah says: "They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal." Chap. xix. 5. Again: "And they built the high places of Baal, to cause their sons and their daughters _to pass through the fire_ unto Moloch." Jer. xxxii. 35. And of Josiah it is said, that he defiled Tophet--"that no man might make his son or his daughter _to pass through the fire_ to Moloch." 2 Kings xxiii. 10. Their idea evidently was, that by sacrificing in this way the most valued offering they could make, that of their children, they would pass in and through that element to Baal, whose residence was conceived to be in the solar orb.
The term Moloch--variously written Melech, Moloch, Malcom, Milcom--as a designation, refers to the same being as Baal; the literal import of the latter being the same as that of _the Lord_, as the sun is lord of the day; and that of the former, the same as _the king_, as the sun is king of the day. The molten images, representative of Moloch, in the heated chest or arms of which, children offered in sacrifice were burnt, are somewhat variously described, but generally as having the head of a calf and the body of a man, with an opening in the chest, into which, when heated from below, the victims were cast alive; and to drown their cries, as in the burning of widows in India, under the same general notion, drums were beaten.
It appears evident from the passages in which they occur in the Scriptures, that the terms Bel, Baal, and Baalim, are personal designations of the intelligence worshipped by the Chaldeans, and other idolaters, as their god, and by the Israelites in opposition to Jehovah. Thus, Jer. l. 2: "Declare ye among the nations, ... Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces;" and li. 44: "I will punish Bel in Babylon.... The nations shall not flow together any more to him." That is, by the destruction of Babylon, Bel, the god of their idolatry, is confounded, punishment is inflicted on him; Merodach, the chief idol representative of Bel, is broken in pieces.
In most of the instances in which the same designation is rendered _Baal_, it has the article, making the personal reference emphatic.
"Throw down the altar of _the_ Baal that thy father hath, and out down the grove [statue of wood, or pillar carved statue or image-like] that is by it: and build an altar unto Jehovah thy Elohe.... And when the men of the city arose in the morning, behold, the altar of _the_ Baal was east down, &c.... If he be an Elohim, let _him_ plead for _himself_.... Let _the_ Baal plead against Gideon, because he hath thrown down _his_ altar." Judges vi. 25, 26, &c.
Ahab "went and served _the_ Baal, and worshipped _him_. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of _the_ Baal which he had built in Samaria." 1 Kings xiv. 31, 32.
"And Elijah said, If Jehovah be _the_ Elohim, follow him: but if _the_ Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings xviii. 21.
So in the narrative of the destruction of the house, and the prophets, priests, and worshippers of _the_ Baal, by Jehu, 2 Kings x. 18-28, the article occurs with the name in the successive verses. And chap. xi. 18: "All the people of the land went into the house of _the_ Baal and brake it down; _his_ altars and _his images_ brake they in pieces."
It is manifest from these and other like passages, that while the statues and images of Baal were many and various, in all countries and places, _the_ Baal, the real object of worship, represented by them, was one. To him, under another of his designations, that of _Moloch_, human victims offered in sacrifice were supposed to pass through the element of fire.
Nor does this conclusion appear to be invalidated by the occurrence of the designation in a plural form, rendered Baalim. The usage in this respect seems analogous to that of the word Elohim. In both cases the article is often prefixed; and the reference is to one agent only. Thus, Judges viii. 33: "The children of Israel turned again ... after _the_ Baalim, and made Baal-berith their Elohim." Again, chap. x. 10-16, the children of Israel said: "We have forsaken our Elohe, and also served _the_ Baalim. And Jehovah said, ... Ye have forsaken me, and served other Elohim.... Go and cry unto the Elohim which ye have chosen.... And they put away the strange Elohe from among them, and served Jehovah."
The terms, _Baal-berith_, signify _the god of the covenant_, _i. e._, of the covenant between Baal and his worshippers; as _Melach Berith_, Mal. iii. 2, signifies _the Messenger of the Covenant_ of grace.
It is thus presumed to be evident beyond a doubt, that the whole system was based upon a theory and a sense of the necessity of mediation; and whether the earlier or later idolaters, the instructed or the ignorant, referred in their worship to a being beyond or superior to Baal, regarding him as created by that superior being, and yet himself as creator of the world, or whether their homage terminated in him, does not affect the question under consideration.
Mosheim, in his Commentaries on the three first centuries of the Christian era, observes, with respect to the costly and sumptuous buildings of the pagans, called temples, fanes, &c., and dedicated to the worship of their gods, that internally "they were ornamented with images of the gods, and furnished with altars," &c. "The statues were supposed to be animated by the deities whom they _represented_; for though the worshippers of gods like those above described must, in a great measure, have turned their backs upon every dictate of reason, they were yet by no means willing to appear so wholly destitute of common sense as to pay their adoration _to a mere idol of metal_, _wood_, _or stone_; but always maintained that the statues, when properly consecrated, were filled with the presence of those divinities whose forms they bore." Vol. i. 16.
Idolatry an imposing and delusive Counterfeit of the Revealed System, in respect to the leading features of its Ritual, and the prerogatives ascribed to the Arch-deceiver--Reference to the Symbols of the Apocalypse.
This antagonist system was, in respect to the attributes and prerogatives impiously arrogated by the great Adversary, and in respect to the leading features of its ritual, a bold, seductive, and imposing counterfeit of the revealed system taught and practised by Noah and his descendants in the line of Shem.
To substitute a false appearance, a deceitful imitation, a resembling counterfeit, a cheat, a lie, was as obviously expedient, and even necessary, in such a case, as it is in keeping with the craft and subtlety of Satan to deceive and beguile. He had to entice, allure, and impose on those who knew what the true system was, and by what miracles and wonders it had been sanctioned; who witnessed its effects in the lives of those who practised it, were familiar with its institutions and public observances; and whose understandings must have been more or less influenced by its inherent and its hereditary claims, and by its voice of encouragement and hope to the righteous, and of alarm and terror to the wicked. Under such circumstances, to resist and counteract the system divinely prescribed and established, it was necessary to impose on the understandings of men, as well as to enlist their feelings, give scope to their propensities, and gratify their passions. To have called on them to worship him directly in his true character, without disguise, or to worship him as a being of inferior claims to those of Jehovah, or by rites and ceremonials less significant and imposing, would not have been likely to secure their homage and allegiance. His own undisguised character would have been revolting; an inferior could not protect them against the superior Being; to dispense with public and visible rites and ceremonies would have been to disappoint and resist their propensities and passions; and no others but such as were already in use could be made to maintain a competition with them.
Accordingly, he arrogated the name, power, prerogatives, works, relations and government of Jehovah. He claimed to be god of this world: its creator, providential ruler, dispenser of benefits, protector of his followers, and rightful object of their homage and obedience, in opposition to Jehovah. He took the then current name in Babylon of the sun, Bel--or, as pointed and commonly rendered, Baal--Lord of Heaven, Supreme Ruler, like the sun in the visible heaven; afterwards, with the same import, the Egyptian name of the same object, On, (often rendered Aven.) Also, Moloch, (Melek,) King; Baal-Zebub, Lord of Hosts--Zebub being a corruption of Zebaoth, hosts, as in the formula, Jehovah Zebaoth, Lord of Hosts; and among the Phœnicians, Baal Samen, Lord of Heaven.
He arrogated the sun as his tabernacle or shekina, and the solar fire and light as his element: imitating, we may well believe, in respect to the first of these particulars, what had been exhibited in Eden, and from time to time prior to the age of Abraham, as it was afterwards, and especially to Moses in Midian, in the pillar of cloud, at the Red Sea, on Mount Sinai, and in the tabernacle. And in imitation of the tabernacle erected by Moses in the wilderness, the partisans of Baal created the tabernacle of Moloch, _i. e._, Baal under that name. Amos v.; Acts vii.
Prideaux, Part I., Book 3, treating of the origin of idolatry, and yet describing it at an advanced stage, when, in addition to the sun, the planets and stars had been brought into its service, observes: "That they took upon themselves to address the being whom they worshipped," and whom he supposes they regarded as the true God, "by mediators of their own choosing. And their notion of the sun, moon, and stars being, that they were the tabernacles or habitations of intelligences which animated those orbs, in the same manner as the soul of man animates his body, and were the causes of all their motions; and that those intelligence were of a middle nature between God and them; they thought these the properest beings to become the mediators between God and them; and, therefore, the planets being the nearest to them of all these heavenly bodies, and generally looked on to have the greatest influence on this world, they made choice of them in the first place for their _God's-mediators_, who were to mediate for them with the Supreme God, and procure from him the mercies and favors which they prayed for; and accordingly they directed divine worship unto them as such. And here began all the idolatry that hath been practised in the world. They first worshipped them _per sacella_, that is, by their _tabernacles_, and afterwards by images also. By these _sacella_ or _tabernacles_ they meant the orbs themselves, which they looked on only as the _sacella_ or _sacred tabernacles_ in which the intelligences had their habitations. And therefore, when they paid their devotions to any one of them, they directed their worship towards the planet in which they supposed he dwelt. But these orbs, by their rising and setting, being as much under the horizon as above, they were at a loss how to address to them in their absence. To remedy this, they had recourse to the invention of images, in which, after their consecration, they thought these intelligences, or inferior deities, to be as much present by their influence as in the planets themselves, and that all addresses to them were made as effectually before the one as before the other. And this was the beginning of image worship among them. To these images were given the names of the planets they represented.... After this, a notion obtaining that good men departed had a power with God also to mediate and intercede for them, they deified many of those whom they thought to be such; and hence the number of their gods increased, in the idolatrous times of the world. This religion first began among the _Chaldeans_, which their knowledge of astronomy helped them to. And from this it was that Abraham separated himself when he came out of _Chaldea_. From the _Chaldeans_ it spread itself over all the East, where the professors of it had the name of Sabians. From thence it passed into Egypt, and from thence to the Grecians, who propagated it to all the western nations of the world; and therefore those who mislike the notion advanced by Maimonides, that many of the Jewish laws were made in opposition to the idolatrous rites of the Sabians, are much mistaken when they object against it that the Sabians were an inconsiderable sect, and therefore not likely to be so far regarded in that matter.... Anciently, they were all the nations of the world that worshipped God by images. And that Maimonides understood the name in this latitude is plain from hence, that he tells us the Sabians whom he spoke of were a sect whose heresy had overspread almost all mankind.... That which hath given them the greatest credit among the people of the East is, that the best of their astronomers have been of this sect, as Thebat Ebn Korrah, Albatani, and others; for the stars being the gods they worshipped, they made them the chief subject of their studies. These Sabians, in the consecrating of their images, used many incantations to draw down into them, from the stars, those intelligences for whom they erected them, whose power and influence they held did afterwards dwell in them."
"Directly opposite to these were the Magians, another sect, who had their original in the same Eastern countries. For they, abominating all images, worshipped God only by fire." These, instead of branching off from the Sabians, doubtless preceded them. "Their chief doctrine was, that there were two principles: one which was the cause of all good, and the other the cause of all evil: that is to say, God and the Devil. That the former is represented by light and the other by darkness, as their truest symbols, and that of the composition of these two all things in the world are made.... And concerning these two gods there was this difference of opinion among them--that whereas some held both of them to have been from eternity, there were others that contended that the good God only was eternal, and that the other was created. But they both agreed in this, that there will be a continual opposition between these two till the end of the world. That then the good God shall overcome the evil god, and that from thenceforward each of them shall have his world to himself: that is, the good God his world, with all good men with him, and the evil god his world, with all evil men with him. That darkness is the truest symbol of the evil god, and light the truest symbol of the good God: and therefore they always worshipped him before fire, as being the cause of light, and especially before the sun, as being, in their opinion, the perfectest fire, and causing the perfectest light. And for this reason, in all their temples, they had fire continually burning on altars created in them for that purpose. And before these sacred fires they offered up all their public devotions, as likewise they did all their private devotions before their private fires in their own houses. Thus did they pay the highest honor to light, as being in their opinion the truest representative of the good God, but always hated darkness, as being what they thought the truest representative of the evil god, whom they ever had in the utmost detestation, as we now have the Devil."
The author's account of the origin and nature of idolatry is in most particulars undoubtedly correct. The exceptions, however, are of great significance. He seems to suppose that the system was contrived and adopted by men, without the instigation of Satan, and that their object was the worship of the true God, in opposition to that evil being. But the intelligence whom they called the good God was Satan himself, supposed to be in the sun as his tabernacle, and in fire and light as his element. And as to what they termed the evil god, it was obviously necessary to the success of his system, as a counterfeit of the true, that it should pretend to have a devil and a perpetual antagonism. It was probably as well known then, and perhaps more generally believed than it is now, that there was such an evil being; and that he was and would continue to be utterly opposed to the true God. And a false or counterfeit system, in which the false god was to arrogate the name and pass himself off for the true God, must provide also an antagonist, a competitor, a devil; and to carry out the cheat, assign to him darkness as his tabernacle, in opposition to light as his own.
It were superfluous to dwell on the imposing and plausible aspect of the scheme in the particulars above referred to, considered as addressed to the depraved hearts, corrupt imaginations, and evil passions of men; opposed to the purity, the requirements, and the restraints of the true religion, and willingly the followers and servants of the Evil One. While it imposed no restraint upon their corruptions, every point in the contrast must have had its effect. It excluded mystery, and appealed directly to their senses; presenting in the sun an object of homage, not only familiar to their view without causing fear, but apparently the beneficent and constant source of their daily comforts and greatest blessings; and by means of fire and light, artificially produced, enabling every individual to avail himself of the immediate presence and the beneficial influence and effects of that object, brought thus within their control, in their dwellings and on their hearths.
The ritual of worship prescribed the erection of altars, a priesthood, various offerings besides the sacrifice of animals, prayers, the burning of incense, feasts, celebrations, and other counterfeits of the revealed system. As a counterpart to the sacred oracle and the gift of prophecy, the worshippers of Baal had auguries, divinations, and pretended oracles in every country. Their prophets prophesied in the name of Baal. Jer. ii. 8; xxiii. 13. "Ahaziah being sick, sent messengers, and said unto them, Go and inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease." 2 Kings i. The responses of their oracles, which continued till after the destruction of the first temple and the cessation of true prophets, and more or less down to the Advent, when they appear to have ceased, were studiously contrived so as to admit equally well of different interpretations, and so as not to be interpreted with any confidence till after the event; and in this respect they were just what the great mass of learned interpreters and expositors of the Scripture prophecies have for ages taken them to be; imputing to them a double sense: to their literal language a figurative meaning, to their definite local references a symbolical import, capable only of being guessed at, and in general regarding them as enigmas--inspired indeed by Him who is head over all things for the information and preservation of his Church, but not intended to be understood, unless by those who survive the events predicted.
It would be easy to show, by tracing the parallel in numberless other and more minute details, that the false system was throughout a parody of the true; and to illustrate the ceaseless antagonism and rivalship which was carried on, in the face of the universe, by the conflict of the two systems, with their visible agencies, institutions, instrumentalities, and effects; occupying, directing and stimulating the attention and the energies, the thoughts and feelings, the hopes and fears, and involving the temporal well-being and the immortal destiny of the whole race: presenting a scene which, whether considered in relation to one period or another, the past or the present, Paganism or Romanism, superstition or rationalism, can be accounted for, with or without the Bible, upon no assumption or theory but that of the enmity and opposition announced and commenced in Eden, which is still in progress and still has a future.
In the progress of this war, the Devil and his angels, the Prince of the power of the air, with the principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world under him, has, from policy if not from necessity, kept concealed behind his instruments. But the heads and leaders of his visible partisans among men, whether in the abominations of heathenism, the enormities of idolatry, the wars and butcheries of nations, the tyrannies of government, the horrors of anarchy, the immolation of human victims, the persecution and slaughter of prophets and martyrs, or in the no less fatal systems of heresy, false theology, and false philosophy, have never scrupled or been backward to do the utmost he could wish in furtherance of his object. Many of them, like the Cerinthians, Marcionites, Valentinians, and other prevalent sects in the first ages of Christianity, ascribed to him the works of creation and providence; and there were not wanting such as worshipped him by name, and others under the designation of the Serpent; and still others who paid the highest honors to Cain, Judas, and similar characters, as his most conspicuous representatives.
The popular notion of idolatry, under the name of polytheism, as if it involved the supposition of a plurality of supreme deities, owes its influence, at least among those who read the English version of the Scriptures, to the fact that the translators rendered the designations of the god of the idolatrous system as plural, though in the Hebrew they are written in the singular number. Knowing that there was but one true God, they uniformly rendered Elohim as well as Elohe, when employed with reference to that Being, in the singular number; but when employed with reference to the rival usurper, the false god, their rendering is plural, _gods_; as if the molten images and numberless idols in other forms, instead of being all representative of one supposed deity, or being regarded as mediators, or representatives of mediators between them and him, were themselves so many independent deities. Thus, in Laban's remonstrance with Jacob: "Wherefore hast thou stolen my _Elohe_?" rendered _gods_, and in Jacob's answer: "With whomsoever thou findest _thy Elohe_," rendered _gods_, the meaning plainly is, (though there seems to have been more than one image, teraphim-images, v. 34,) that which represents my Elohe. Gen. xxxi. 30-32. Again, Exod. xx. 1-23: "And Elohim spake all these words: I am Jehovah thy Elohe; thou shall have no other Elohim before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Ye shall not make with me Elohe of silver;" an Elohe, a god, rendered _gods_. "Neither shall ye make unto you Elohe of gold;" an Elohe, a molten image representative of me, rendered _gods._ "Against the _Elohe_ of Egypt I will execute judgment." Exod. xii. 12, rendered, "against all the _gods_ of Egypt," &c. "Thou shalt not bow down to their Elohe," (_Eng. gods._) "Ye shall serve Jehovah your _Elohe_," (_Eng. God._) Exod. xxiii. 24, 25. "Aaron made it a molten calf: and they said, This is _thy Elohe_, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Exod. xxxii. 4, rendered, "_These be thy gods_, O Israel." Undoubtedly the meaning is: This molten image is a visible token or representative of Jehovah thy Elohe--a visible mediator or medium of intercourse with thy Elohe, in place of Moses. So Jeroboam, having made _two_ such images, two calves of gold, said: "Behold thy _Elohe_, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." 2 Kings xii. 28: rendered, Behold thy _gods_, O Israel. This usage characterizes the translation.
Besides the absurdity of supposing that the Israelites, with the revelation of the one Supreme Being by which they were distinguished, or that the heathen should admit the notion of a plurality of such beings, it is apparent from the nature of the case that the counterfeit of the true system must originally, in order to its success, have been a counterfeit in this, the first and most essential of all its particulars. The very nature of the antagonism, and the false system of mediation by which idolatry was sustained and rendered practically successful, required this. Even when Astarte, as Queen of heaven, was associated with Baal, it was only in a subordinate relation, as mediatrix, the moon being her shekina, and her office being the prototype of that of the Popish Mary; while Baal arrogated the prerogatives of Jehovah, and the sun as his shekina.
To this evil being, among others, the following designations are applied in the Hebrew Scriptures: _Serpent_, as in Gen. iii.: "Jehovah Elohim said unto the _serpent_, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." Thee, the "tempter," "the dragon, that old _serpent_ which is the Devil and Satan." Rev. xx. "The great dragon, that old _serpent_, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." Rev. xii. The apostle expresses his fear "lest by any means" the false teachers should corrupt his converts, "as the _serpent_ beguiled Eve through his subtlety." 2 Cor. xi. The original word, when not employed as a personal designation, is often rendered "enchantment, divination," &c. _Satan_ is commonly rendered _adversary_; but frequently Satan, as a personal designation of the Evil One, where his local agency is particularly mentioned, as Job i, and ii.; 1 Chron. xxi. 1; Zech. iii. 1, 2.
"By collecting all the passages where Satan or the Devil is mentioned, it may be observed that he fell from heaven, with all his company; that God cast him down from thence for the punishment of his pride; that by his envy and malice, sin, death, and all other evils came into the world; that by the permission of God he exercises a sort of government in the world over his subordinates, over apostate angels like himself; that God makes use of him to prove good men and chastise bad ones; that he is a lying spirit in the mouth of false prophets, seducers, and heretics; that it is he or some of his that torment or possess men; that inspire them with evil designs, as he did David, when he suggested to him to number his people; to Judas, to betray his Lord and Master, and to Ananias and Sapphira, to conceal the price of their field. That he roves full of rage, like a roaring lion, to tempt, to betray, to destroy us, and to involve us in guilt and wickedness. That his power and malice are restrained within certain limits, and controlled by the will of God. In a word, that he is an enemy to God and man, and uses his utmost endeavors to rob God of his glory and men of their souls." "Devil--a most wicked angel, the implacable enemy and tempter of the human race. He is called Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek; that is, destroyer, Rev. ix. 11. Angel of the bottomless pit, Prince of the world, John xii. 31. Prince of darkness, Ephes. vi. 12. A roaring lion and an adversary, 1 Pet. v. 8. A sinner from the beginning, 1 John iii. 8. Beelzebub, Matt. xii. 24. Accuser, Rev. xii. 10. Belial, 2 Cor. vi. 15. Deceiver, Rev. xx. 10. Dragon, Rev. xii. 3. Liar, John viii. 44. Leviathan, Isa. xxvii. 7. Lucifer, Isa. xiv. 12. Murderer, John viii. 44. Serpent, Isa. xxvii. 1. Satan, Job ii. 6. Tormentor, Matt. xviii. 34. The god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4. He is compared to a dog, Ps. xxii. 16. Fowls, Matt. xiii. 4. A fowler, Ps. xci, 3. Lightning, Luke x. 18. Locusts, Rev. v. 3. A wolf, John x. 12. An adder, Ps. xci. 13. These names are given to the Prince of devils. Devil is put for,  Idols, Ps. cvi. 37; 2 Chron. xi. 15.  A wicked man, John vi. 70.  Persecutor, Rev. ii. 10." Cruden's Concordance, Art. "Satan and Devil."
This fallen being was expressly worshipped in or through the form of the _serpent_, by the ancient Persians, under the name _Ahriman_; by the Egyptians, under that of _Typhon_; by the Greeks, under that of _Python_; and by the Syrians, Hindoos, Mexicans, and other nations, under different designations.
In Leviticus xvii. 7, Satan and his angels appear to be referred to under the word _devils_, where the children of Israel are commanded "to sprinkle the blood of animals slain by them on the altar of Jehovah, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and to burn the fat for a sweet savor unto Jehovah." "And," it is added as a reason of the command, "they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto _devils_, after whom they have gone a whoring." Probably the images before which they thus offered sacrifices were those of goats, as the same word is often rendered _goats_. Again, 2 Chron. ii. 15, it is said of Jeroboam that "He ordained him priests for the high places, and for the _devils_, and for the calves which he had made." This may with propriety be rendered, "and for the devils, _even_ for the calves," the representatives of Satan which he had made. A different original word is rendered _devils_, Deut. xxxii. 17, where it is said that Israel "forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy, &c. They sacrificed unto _devils_, not to God; to Elohim whom they knew not." The word here translated _devils_ is often rendered _spoiler_, _destroyer_, _destruction_, &c. Doubtless the reference is to an intelligence beyond any visible image. The same word occurs, Ps. cvi. 36, 37: "They served their idols, which were a snare unto them; yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto _devils_."
Since the existence of the fallen angels and of their prince and leader was known from the beginning; and that he was prince and leader also of the party of the human race which was at enmity with the true worshippers of Jehovah; and since they manifested their hostility chiefly in their false system of religion, it seems reasonable and even necessary to conclude that they followed and supported their leader in his rivalship, and regarded him, however represented by images, as the object of their worship, in opposition to Jehovah, the object, through sacrifices, of the homage of his worshippers. In this view of their conduct, it is easy to conceive that their serving and worshipping idols should provoke Jehovah to jealousy. They served and worshipped an antagonist, a rival.
Let the reader suppose himself to have been present as a disinterested spectator of the condition of the Hebrew Church in Egypt prior to the legation of Moses; to have witnessed their practice of the rites and forms of the patriarchal worship, in contrast with the idol worship of the Egyptians; to have witnessed instances, like that of Moses, of individuals "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of CHRIST greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;" to have heard their sighs and cries to God by reason of their bondage, and known that "God heard their groaning, and remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and looked upon the children of Israel, and had respect unto them;" and that the Messenger Jehovah said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters; for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians;" and further, to have known that they were familiar with the historical facts of the patriarchal history, and of the appearances of Jehovah in the form and under the designation of man to Abraham and to Jacob, and often visibly as the Messenger Jehovah; and that altars were erected, and sacrifices and prayers were offered to him in that form; and that he was customarily recognized and worshipped in that form, at places specially appropriated by him for that purpose, where he was to be invoked and acknowledged as Jehovah the Elohe of Abraham; and he will the more easily conceive, in some degree, of the enormity of the insult and provocation offered by the partisans of the rival counterfeit system, in erecting altars, offering sacrifices, and bowing themselves down before molten images as representatives of the great antagonist intelligence; or, as in the case of Aaron, Micah, Jeroboam and others, as representatives of Jehovah. If the reader suppose himself to have witnessed the appalling demonstrations against the false system, in the plagues of Egypt, at the Red Sea, at Mount Sinai, and in the wilderness, in connection with the visible presence, agency, and glory of the Messiah; or under a vivid impression of the reality and import of these scenes and wonders; to have been present at those periods and on those occasions when the defection of the Israelites to image and Baal worship was specially marked and signally punished, his impression of the nature of the antagonism, and the enormity of the provocation and insult, cannot fail to be heightened.
The apostle Paul, treating (Rom. i.) of the defection of men to idolatry, says, "they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things:" meaning, it is presumed, that they ascribed to the images of those creatures--which they made and served as representatives of the created intelligence whom they worshipped--the attributes, perfections, and prerogatives which he had conspicuously and gloriously manifested in his works of creation and providence. Whether the formation of such images was coëval with the earliest practice of idolatrous rites or not, may be a question. But in the selection of men, birds, and four-footed beasts as models of the forms of the images earliest employed in their idolatry, there is ground to presume that they copied or simulated the cherubic figures so familiar to the Israelites under the Levitical economy, and probably to the Church at all previous times, as a constituent of the instituted system of manifestation and instruction, from the appearance of the cherubim at the gate of Eden. That primeval appearance demonstrates that they were not borrowed from any institution or example of the idolaters; and in so capital a point as that of instituting representative images in their antagonist system, they would be sure to counterfeit, and to pervert from its office and meaning in the true system, whatever would serve the purpose of craft and deception. In respect to "creeping things," they had in the serpent a prototype altogether their own, which, when the images previously mentioned had been adopted, and impiously consecrated to idolatry, might easily be brought into use.
Pankhurst, under the word Cherubim, in his Hebrew Lexicon, describes no less than sixty examples in which heads or other parts resembling the cherubic figures are incorporated in the objects of idolatrous homage of different heathen nations.
Maimonides, as quoted by Parkhurst, says that the first idolaters regarded the heavenly bodies as messengers or mediators of a supreme, infinite, invisible Being. In the worship of those bodies, or rather of the mediating intelligence supposed to reside in them, either because they were often out of sight, or for other reasons, they selected representative creatures, chiefly of the species comprised in the four-faced cherubim, but sometimes of other species, and among them of the serpent, and at length of mineral and metallic images of such creatures.
In a number of the examples cited by Parkhurst, the serpent, or the serpent's head, appears conspicuous; and particularly in idol forms representative of the sun or Baal. In most of the images, the human form predominates; around which the serpent often appears entwined. The cherubic wings are indifferently attached to the human and the leading animal forms, and to the serpent. The combinations, especially of heads, in these representative images, strikingly suggest that the example of the cherubic faces was perverted to be the basis of the system, and that the serpent, when not exhibited as a distinct and sole object of homage, was foisted in and superadded to the figures which were familiar in the original system of revealed religion. In most of the complex forms in which different animals are combined, reference appears to have been had to the sun or Baal, _i. e._ to Satan, the supposed mediating intelligence resident in the sun.
In a published account of two "sculptured images" disinterred by Mr. Layard from the ruins of ancient Nineveh, and forwarded by him to Williams College, Mass., being supposed to have "been buried in the ruins of that city not less than twenty-five hundred years," and to be samples of the earliest "idols" instituted in that capital, the date of which is supposed to be about one hundred and thirty years after the deluge, the figure of one is described as "that of _a man with wings and an eagle's head and beak_, well proportioned. The two wings, springing from the back of the shoulders, are gracefully spread." The other is a figure simply of a man, seven and a half feet in height. They are pronounced "perfect of their kind. The slabs on which they are sculptured are dark gypsum, such as are described as lining the walls of the rooms and passages of the ruin, which Layard regards as having constituted at once the temple and palace of the king. One of the slabs is seven feet, and the other seven and a half feet high, and they are each three feet and two inches wide. The figures are the whole length of the slabs."
Here is a manifest, and in all likelihood a surreptitious combination of two of the figures in the cherubic emblem, which, without some prototype, and a prototype already associated with the religion which was to be renounced, perverted, and counterfeited, would not be likely to occur, or to be easily brought into use and favor. An existing and familiar prototype might be copied exactly--as altars, sacrifices, incense, and various rites appear to have been--or with some modifications, and yet be readily adopted. In this view it would be obvious to argue, that as Jehovah often appeared on earth in the similitude of man, and thereby taught and virtually anticipated his future predicted incarnation; and as that form was associated with others in the cherubic emblem, therefore that emblem might be taken as representative of the Intelligence to be worshipped, and as teaching the doctrine of his incarnation not merely in the form and nature of man, but also in birds, four-footed beasts, and all other creatures brought into existence by him. Such pantheism undoubtedly resulted. But had the first forms of images been wholly an original device of the idolaters, they would naturally have selected not complex, but simple ones. They would have copied nature. They would in all probability have selected first the human form; but they would have taken that as it visibly appears, without a mysterious and inexplicable combination of inferior natures with it.
Next, they would very likely select the bird--the eagle--whose flight transcends the clouds, and whose eye endures the blaze of solar light; and next, the most docile and most useful, and then the most powerful and sagacious quadrupeds; in all instances, as is held by Warburton and others, and is highly probable in itself employing images and pictures long before they idolized the animals themselves.
A progress and an analogy of this kind--notwithstanding that the whole subject of idolatry, its origin, its nature, its rationale, its import as an antagonism to the revealed religion, and as involving the reason and an intelligible and ample justification of the jealousy, wrath, indignation, judgments, retributions, and finally of exterminating vengeance against it, has been mystified and misrepresented, under the rabbinical and figurative systems formerly adverted to--might be traced, and indefinitely illustrated, by reference to the Sphinxes, Centaurs, Pans, &c., of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; the Brahmas, the Vishnus, the Sivas, and the incarnations and transmigrations of India, and the Boodism and Lamaism of the whole Eastern world.
The notion of local deities, national gods, &c., implied the doctrine of incarnation, and was no doubt suggested by the Theophanies of the patriarchal history and the Theocracy of the Mosaic, administered by the Messenger Jehovah, locally present in the tabernacle in a cloud-like form, where he was inquired of in respect to things future, and held converse with Moses, Joshua, and their successors. In imitation, the devotees of Baal conceived of him as present in their temples, inhabiting the forms of their idols, and hearing their statements and requests.
Thus Moses returned to Jehovah as present in the burning bush, and said, "O Adonai! wherefore," &c. Exod. v. 22. "And David the king came and sat before Jehovah, [_i. e._, in the tabernacle,] and said," &c. 1 Chron. xvii. 16.
So, on the other hand, "The Philistines took Saul's head and his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols and to the people. And they put his armor in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon." 1 Chron. x. 9, 10.
Mr. Layard, in his recent account of "Nineveh and its Remains," observes, that the sculptured walls which he explored continually exhibited forms corresponding to the description of the living creatures seen in vision by Ezekiel, (chap. i.;) and also what he supposes may have represented the wheel spoken of in that description--the former showing the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle; and the latter, a winged circle or globe, hovering above the head of the king, as an emblem of the supreme deity of the Assyrian nation; with a winged figure in the middle, representing the sun. The king, he adds, may, as in Egypt, have been regarded as the representative on earth of the deity, of whom the emblem is exhibited as above his head in battle, during his triumphs, and when he celebrates the sacred ceremonies. The author, who supposes the station of Ezekiel by the river of Chebar to have been in the immediate vicinity of Nineveh, absurdly indicates that, "As the prophet had beheld the Assyrian palaces, with their mysterious images and gorgeous decorations, it is highly probable that, when seeking to typify certain Divine attributes and to describe the Divine glory, he chose forms that were not only familiar to him, but to the people whom he addressed, captives like himself in the land of Assyria. He chose the four living creatures, with four faces, four wings," &c. The forms which the prophet _saw_ in vision assuredly did not depend upon his choice; and if they had, he would not have represented the true God by forms borrowed from idolatry. Nor is it likely that the captives were admitted to the palaces of their Assyrian conquerors. These forms, on the contrary, having been familiar in the patriarchal system of revealed religion, had been simulated by the earliest idolaters.
But the most comprehensive and striking illustrations of idolatry, as a studied, rival, antagonistic counterfeit of the revealed system and true worship, are to be derived from those symbols of the Apocalypse which relate to Antichrist; to the two-horned wild beast and the image--the great Antagonist, and his Papal agents under that character; to his arrogation of the attributes, prerogatives, rights, throne, dominion and homage of God the Mediator, assumption of his titles and office, and exercise of authority as lawgiver over his people; and from those symbols which relate to the fall and destruction of Great Babylon, and the imprisonment of "the ancient Serpent, who is the Devil and Satan;" as those symbols are explained and rendered intelligible in "An Exposition of the Apocalypse, by David N. Lord;" a work distinguished by its discovery of and adherence to scriptural interpretations of symbols, and by its originality in every respect. (See note A at the end.)
The great fabric of pagan idolatry, as a rival system to the true religion, and a counterfeit Theocracy, combining the civil with the religious administration, was the organism through which the Arch-usurper carried on his rivalship in all the heathen nations down to the age of Constantine. Then, to meet the exigences of his case, in opposition to Christianity in the Roman Empire, he made the ecclesiastical hierarchies in union with the civil government the medium of his rule. When the empire was divided, the eastern from the western portion, leaving the eastern under the dragon sway of preceding ages, he assumed for the western that of the wild beast and false prophet--the civil rulers of the ten kingdoms and the Papal hierarchy. Under these organizations he has, in both divisions of that empire, continued to exhibit more boldly and arrogantly even than in the regions of ancient paganism, his usurpations of the Divine prerogatives; warring against the Lamb, corrupting and opposing the propagation of the gospel, persecuting and slaughtering the saints; and will continue that career till finally vanquished and imprisoned. The issue at the advent of the incarnate Word with the armies of heaven, the incarceration of the great Usurper, and the dejection of his followers into the lake of fire, strikingly indicate the nature and purpose of his previous antagonism and rivalship. Prolonged and desperate as his rebellion and usurpation had been, extended and arrogant as were his pretensions and sway as god of this world, the mystery of his iniquity is at length terminated by the exercise, through visible agencies, of Divine power over his person. (See note B.)
On the question, How it has happened, since the origin of the Nicene Creed, that the Old Testament has been understood to ascribe the Creation, not to the Christ, but to the Father.
Since the New Testament distinctly ascribes the work of creation to the official Person called the Logos and the Christ, and, in harmony with the Old, demonstrates his identity with Jehovah, Elohim, and the Messenger Jehovah, it may justly occasion surprise and deserve inquiry, how it has happened that the Old Testament has, both by Jews and Christians, so long and so generally been construed, as in our own and other modern translations, to ascribe those works, not to Him, personally or officially, but to the Father, or to the Deity irrespective of any personal distinctions or official relations.
As preliminary to this inquiry, it may be observed, that the office which belonged to him in his delegated character was constituted before the creation of the world. That office included the redemption of his people, who were chosen in him before the creation. His relation to them, therefore, did not commence after the fall, nor after the creation. For his official work includes the work of redemption; and since those to be redeemed were before the creation chosen in him, whatever in his mediatorial person, office and character belongs to him as their Redeemer, must have been constituted prior to the work of creation. And since the works of creation and providence had, and continue to have, an intimate connection with the work of redemption, and are in some things identical with that work, we must conclude that whatever belongs officially to his person and character was constituted prior to the creation; and that the covenant transaction, in which the second person of the Trinity was appointed and undertook to be the Redeemer, comprised all that appertains to the constitution of his person and office as Mediator; so that thenceforth he was in a capacity to act officially in his delegated character as Mediator, as truly and perfectly as at any subsequent period. The connection and consistency of the entire plan of creation, providence, and redemption, in its relations to him in the progress of its execution, require this conclusion; and hence the particularity and emphasis with which the apostles, in setting forth his prerogatives as Mediator and Redeemer, for the conviction of those who saw him only as man, assert that he was in the beginning--_i. e._, in the delegated official character which they then ascribed to him; that he was before all things; that by him all things consist; that in the beginning he laid the foundation of the earth, created the heavens and the earth, brought into existence all creatures visible and invisible; that he was in respect to the entire system the Alpha and Omega, First and Last. Their object required that all this should be believed of him in the official person and character in which for the suffering of death he appeared incarnate. _It was in no respect to their purpose_ to assert of him that _as Divine_, or in his _Divine nature_, he existed prior to the creation, and exercised creative power. The whole question was as to the complex, delegated official person and character of him who visibly appeared, wrought miracles, and was called Jesus, the Christ. It is with reference to this that they assert his preëxistence, ascribe to him the works of creation and providence, and declare him to be the only Mediator between God and man--the only medium of relations and intercourse between the invisible Deity and creatures.
This is what the apostate, idolatrous and infidel world, in subserviency to the great Adversary and his followers, have over opposed. This is the question to be decided to the full and final conviction of the whole universe, in the battles described in Rev. xix. and xx.; in the first of which the Mediator, in the person of Jesus, _clothed with a vesture dipped in blood_, and called _The Word of God_, appears in his glory, and vanquishes the Arch-enemy and all his adherents; and in the second, fire from heaven devours his enemies of the human race, and the Devil that deceived them is cast into the lake of fire, to be tormented for ever and ever. Then, every tongue will acknowledge the true character of this Personage. Then will be solved the mystery concerning the creation of all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church--_i. e._, by the redemption of the Church, as comprising substantially all the works of providence--the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephes. iii.
The great purpose of the works of creation, providence and redemption is, to manifest the Divine perfections to intelligent creatures; so to instruct them in the knowledge of God, and so to display his righteousness and the nature and evil of sin, that they might discern the glorious excellency, holiness, loveliness, amiableness and beauty of the character revealed, and cordially love, obey and enjoy him for ever. This purpose is from the beginning executed by the Mediator, in the delegated character in which he appears at its consummation.
His office, accordingly, placed him as the medium of all relations and communications between the invisible Deity and creatures; and his official undertaking comprised the works of creation, providence, and redemption; the manifestation of the Divine perfections; the vindication of the Divine prerogatives, laws, and government; the redemption of lost men; the union, confirmation and blessedness of all holy creatures under him as King, and the subjection and punishment of Satan, the fallen angels and wicked men.
From the nature of intelligent creatures, and their relations to one another and to material objects, the execution of this undertaking required a course of external and visible facts connected both with his and their agency. They were to be instructed both in respect to themselves and to him; and as the visibility of their persons and acts was necessary to their instruction concerning one another, the visibility of his person and acts was necessary on the same account.
It is evident that the Mediator has, officially, relations to the holy angels, not only as their Creator, but in other respects. They are required to worship him in that character, _i. e._, in the character in which he came into the world. Heb. i. 6. They are employed in executing the measures of his mediatorial administration. Heb. i. 14. They attended his person on the occasion of his advent, his temptation, his sufferings and resurrection, and join his people in their songs and praises, in view of his final triumph and exaltation.
As Mediator, he is invested with all power in heaven and earth. All judgment is committed to him in that capacity, "because he is the Son of man," the official Person; and we must conclude that his official work comprises all Divine operations relating to creatures.
In the phraseology both of the Old and New Testaments, where God is represented as acting or speaking, the expression in most cases is such as would occur were there no distinction of persons in the Godhead, unless we understand, wherever the text does not in terms or in the nature of the subject indicate another reference, that the appellations, Elohim, Jehovah, Messenger Jehovah, &c., are employed to designate the Mediator, personally and officially. But so understood, he stands forth the external representative, the visible image, the outward manifestation, the official agent, the messenger of the Father, and as such reveals Him; and by the mission and coöperation of the Holy Spirit in the work of redemption, that Divine Person is made known. The entire scheme respecting the creation and government of creatures being in the counsels of eternity assigned to the second Person, as the official agent and messenger delegated and sent of the Father, it appertained to him to make known to creatures all that they are to know of the being and perfections of the One God and the distinction of persons in the Godhead.
Accordingly the Deity, without any special indication of personal or official relations, is often referred to under the terms Jehovah and Elohim, where the object required only a distinction of divine from creature attributes or agency. In this way, in one class of passages, God is said to do the same things which in another class are expressly ascribed to the Messenger Jehovah, the Christ, the Word.
But where a reference is made to any thing in the economy of redemption, or any thing involving official acts or relations, official titles are introduced, or a phraseology is employed, by which the intended meaning is expressed. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are clearly distinguished, or their personality, relations and agency are indicated by the nature of the things recorded, or by the connections in which they occur.
It is in this view that we understand all those passages in which the divine names and the official titles of the Mediator are interchangeably applied to the same Person. In all such cases the things affirmed are in other passages affirmed of the Messiah, under titles which exclusively belong to him. He is in this manner announced in the Old Testament as Jehovah, the Elohe of Abraham, the Creator, &c. The patriarchs and prophets knew God, as manifested in him in his delegated, official, personal character. That they were enlightened in respect to the invisible Deity absolutely considered, and in respect to the distinction of Persons, is no more to be doubted than that they were enlightened as to the great Revealer. The sublime conceptions proper to this subject were undoubtedly so imparted, received, and cherished as to render the doctrine of mediation and of the delegated personal character of the Mediator an intelligible and practical doctrine. This may be inferred, not only from all that is recorded concerning the religion of the patriarchs, the sacrifices, prayers, types and symbols connected with their worship, but also from the theory of the earliest idolatry, which was a rival system, and was based upon the idea of mediation between a supreme invisible Deity and creatures, and consisted in regarding as mediators created intelligences, supposed to reside in the planetary orbs, and in images or idols as their representatives. It is obvious, indeed, from the nature of the case, that where any notion of mediation and a Mediator prevailed, and was indicated in the rites and institutions of worship, there, and, above all, under a system of revealed religion and acceptable worship, an apprehension more or less distinct, enlarged and just of the invisible Deity, of the concealed as well as of the revealed God, must have been entertained.
Nevertheless, concerning this subject much was reserved to be taught by the Mediator in his incarnate state, when the distinction of Persons in the Godhead and their official designations could be rendered plain by his visible personal acts, his verbal explanations, and the agency and gifts ascribed to the Holy Spirit. This was in accordance with the progress and analogy of revelation in other respects. Besides, we may well believe that there was originally, and during the Mosaic period, extreme difficulty in instructing men on those high themes concerning the invisible and spiritual, as may be inferred from the rooted and lasting propensity of the Israelites to visible symbols and material images, and from the limited prevalence of the clearer inculcations of the gospel down to the present day. Men did not and do not like to retain God in their knowledge.
Hence the language of our Saviour in teaching the Divine unity and spirituality, and the distinction, offices and relations of the Persons of the Godhead. He taught that God is a Spirit, invisible, infinite, eternal, unchangeable; of himself, that he came out from God; came forth from the invisible to the visible world; that he should withdraw from the visible to the invisible, so as not to be seen; that he should afterwards visibly reäppear; that God the Father sent him; that the power which he exercised in his miracles was a divine attribute, and proved his divinity; that those who witnessed his miracles, witnessed the exercise of the power of the invisible Deity, which was the power of the Father who had sent him, as well as his own; and therefore they saw the Father in the same works in which they saw him; for in respect to their nature as divine, He and the Father were one.
But even his disciples did not at first understand his meaning. "Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known _me_, Philip? He that hath seen _me_ hath seen the Father." That is, I act officially, exercising the power of the Deity, which is delegated to me by the Father. He who sees in my works a demonstration of my personality and divinity, sees at the same time in those works the only outward and visible demonstration that can be made to men of the personality and divinity of the Father. The power which I exercise is possessed by me in common with the Father, though personally and officially exercised by me. That power is a divine attribute, and in respect to it as an attribute, I and the Father are one.
To confirm this instruction, he promises to do for his disciples what they should ask of the Father in his name; and informs them that he should leave them, as to his visible presence, and go the Father, and that he would manifest himself to them by the official personal agency of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father would send in his name, to dwell with them, be in them, show them the things which respected himself, teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance. John xiv.
Continuing to instruct them on this subject, in the two next chapters, he says, "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father. A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again a little while, and ye shall see me." Such was his mode of teaching the distinction of Persons in the Godhead--the doctrine of the Trinity.
The apostles were slow to learn these truths concerning the divine Persons respectively, and their offices and relations. They expected in the Messiah a temporal deliverer, who should assume the government of their nation, and continue personally and visibly among them. In certain respects they appear not to have understood his character till after his ascension, nor till after the Spirit had enlightened and convinced them that the Christ who had been crucified was indeed the Lord of glory, Jehovah, the Elohe of Abraham, in whom Abraham and David believed unto justification. Being at length fully satisfied of this, they testified it to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, and subsequently, with overwhelming effect; for the people being also convinced and cut to the heart, cried, Men and brethren, what shall we do? In their testimony to this end they declared to the Jews that Jesus whom they had crucified was both the Lord (Jehovah) and the Christ; and quoted David as saying concerning him, "I foresaw Jehovah always before me."
Subsequently the apostles, more fully instructed in "the mystery of _God_, and of the _Father_, and of _the Christ_," Col. ii., more clearly distinguished the Persons of the Trinity in all that concerned their relations to the work of redemption; though, conformably to the Hebrew usage, they often, as the context shows, designated the Mediator under the name of _God_, while they also by that name referred to the Father and to the one invisible Deity. Thus, speaking of the Christ, Paul says, "Who is over all, God blessed for ever." Rom. ix. 5. Again: "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. ii. 5. And, treating of the economy of grace, and the gifts bestowed on the Church by the Redeemer, he says: "There is one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father of all." Eph. iv. 4-6. See also the doxologies, and the formulas of grace and peace introductory to the Epistles.
These observations and references may, perhaps, sufficiently show the occasion there was for the reiterated statements, at the opening of the New Dispensation, _that no man had seen the Father_, and that he was declared and made known only by the Son. The Jews, to whom these things were said, were familiar with the Scriptures which record the visible appearances of Jehovah, the Elohe of Abraham. The first thing, as has been observed, that was necessary, on his appearance in human nature, was to convince those who had seen and heard him that he was the same personally and officially as He who appeared to and conversed and covenanted with the patriarchs, and dwelt with the Church in the wilderness and in the first temple. He was accordingly from the first, by inspired direction, designated by names of the same import as the Jehovah and Immanuel of the earlier dispensation; and he himself appealed to the ancient Scriptures, as testifying of him. The apostles referred to him as the Jehovah of the Old Testament; and Stephen says, that Moses "was in the Church in the wilderness, with _The Messenger_ who spoke to him in mount Sinai." Acts vii.
The Shekina, and all visible Divine appearances, having long been discontinued, the Jews seem not to have expected any recurrence of the like, or of analogous interpositions. Their religion consisted in a formal observance of rites and traditions, and a blind reliance on their being descendants of Abraham; and in the Messiah, whom they desired and expected, they looked only for a human chieftain, a temporal deliverer from the Roman yoke. Their notions of the Divine Being, the invisible Deity, do not appear to have differed essentially from those common to their descendants ever since. They appear, indeed, to have degenerated so far from the ancients, as to have retained no ideas of a distinction of Persons in the Godhead. When they spoke of God as their Father, they had reference only to the invisible Deity as their Creator. They were alike destitute of the faith of Abraham and of all correct knowledge of Jehovah, the promised Seed, the Messenger, the personal Word. The common people were as sheep without a shepherd, and their teachers as blind leaders of the blind. "We all, says Trypho, expect a Messiah to be born, that will be man _of man_." Brown's Justin Martyr, section 49.
Evidences to almost any extent might be easily adduced to show that the Jews of our Saviour's time had generally, as a people, lost or perverted by their traditions the knowledge which their ancient predecessors possessed, were blind to the meaning of their own Scriptures, and were plunged in gross and inveterate errors.
Their errors soon began to be widely propagated by Judaizing teachers of Christianity, and by Gentile heretics; and with respect to the teachings of the Old Testament concerning the Creator, the Messiah, mediation, the Unity, Trinity, and other subjects, became at an early period extensively prevalent. The Gnosticism which, under Cerinthus and others, assailed the Jewish converts in the apostles' days, and was propagated during that and several succeeding ages, under many leaders, and with various modifications, was a compound of Oriental philosophy and Judaizing infidelity. To that, in its original form, succeeded, in the second century, the modifications of the Asiatic and Egyptian sects, and the heresies of the Monarchins, or Patripassians; the sects of Theodotus, Artemon, Hermogenes and others; in the third, the Manichæans, the Sabellians, and the followers of Paul of Samosata; and in the fourth, the Arians, Semiarians, Pelagians, and others, which, with an occasional change of name, have come down to the present day, and constitute, in relation to the leading doctrines and object of the Holy Scriptures, one comprehensive heresy, of which the cardinal feature is a denial or derogation of what belongs to the official Person, character, and works of the Mediator. In the controversies to which those heresies gave occasion, owing to the nature of the questions which were discussed, the character and objects of the parties brought into conflict, the want of familiarity with the theology of the Hebrew Scriptures on the part of the orthodox, Gentile controvertists; owing to these and the like causes, the ascription, common in the patriarchal, Mosaic, and prophetic history, and in the first period of Christianity, of all the works of creation and providence to the official mediatorial Person, was gradually discontinued, and at length wholly dropped, even by those who believed in his divinity.
Continuation of the subject of the foregoing Chapter--Reference to the Heresies, respecting the Creator, of the three first and ensuing centuries.
The heresy of the Gnostic philosophers, like that of the geologists of the present day, had to do with the question of a creator and creation as its starting theme. "They boasted," says Mosheim, "of being able to restore mankind to the knowledge of the true and supreme Being, [_i. e._, the Deity, as superior to the evil being, regarded by them as creator,] which had been lost in the world, and foretold the approaching defeat of the _evil principle_, _i. e._, the Devil, to whom they attributed _the creation_ of this globe." Their Unitarianism, like that of later times, could tolerate the notion of _divine creatures_, a _created creator_; but they could not allow that such a world as this was or could have been created by the true Supreme Being.
"The Gnostic doctrine," adds the author above quoted, "concerning the creation of the world by one or more inferior beings of an evil, or at least an imperfect nature, led that sect to deny the divine authority of the books of the Old Testament, whose accounts of the origin of things so palpably contradicted this idle fiction. Through a frantic aversion to those books, they lavished their encomiums upon the _Serpent_, the first author of sin, and held in veneration some of the most impious and profligate persons of whom mention is made in sacred history."
Those boasters furnished a notable example for all pretenders to philosophy and rationalism in religion, who take reason for their guide, and deem it competent to determine what it is proper for the Supreme Being to do; who or what kind of being it is most proper should be the creator of such a world as this; at what time, in what manner, of what materials, and for what ends the world should be created; and whether the Mosaic record should be wholly rejected, or only so far as this subject, that of miracles, inspiration, the universality of the Deluge, the doctrine of vicarious atonement, and a few others, are concerned.
The controlling influence to which the heretics and theorists of the first centuries were manifestly subject, was that of their philosophy. Assuming that their philosophical dogmas were true and founded in the nature of things, they argued, as do our modern geologists, from their assumptions, that the Scriptures must be consistent with them; and since they were not taught in Scripture, nor consistent with the apparent import of the language of Scripture, they found it necessary to imagine an occult, allegorical, tropical, or spiritual meaning, couched under the forms of the natural language. Thus Origen held "that, under cover of the words, phrases, images, and narratives of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit had concealed the internal reasons and grounds of things; that in the body of Holy Writ [so he denominates the _proper sense_ of the words] there was a _soul_, [a recondite sense,] and that this soul exhibits, to careful contemplators of it, as it were in a mirror, the causes, connections, and dependences of both human and Divine wisdom." Murdock's Commentaries of Mosheim, II. 156, 165. He took up "the ancient doctrine of the Pharisees and Essenees, that of a double sense in Holy Scripture;" and to confirm his philosophical notions by the authority of the sacred oracles, by "bending the sense of Scripture to suit his purpose, eliminated from the Bible whatever was repugnant to his favorite opinions." Ibid. 165.
"It is very certain that the Jews, and among them the Pharisees especially, and Essenees, before the birth of our Saviour, believed that in the language of the Bible, besides the sense which is obvious to the reader, there is another more remote and recondite, concealed under the words of Scripture." Murdock's Commentaries of Mosheim, II. 166.
Essene es account of the doctrines of Cerinthus, a Gnostic Jew, who, about the close of the first century, appeared as the leader of those who sought to merge Christianity in Judaism, indicates the confusion and uncertainty which then, probably to a great extent, perplexed the minds of the Jewish and Gentile proselytes to the Christian faith. "He taught that the Creator of this world, whom he considered also as the sovereign and lawgiver of the Jewish people, was _a being_ endowed with the greatest virtues, and derived _his birth_ from the _Supreme God;_ [thus conceding that the Jehovah of the Old Testament was the same as the Christ;] that this being fell, by degrees, from his native virtue, and his primitive dignity; [referring, no doubt, to the withdrawment of the Messenger Jehovah, the Creator, with the visible Shekina, from the temple, and his apparent abandonment of the Jewish people, as they themselves considered;] that the Supreme God, in consequence of this, determined to destroy his empire, [meaning, probably, that as he no longer appeared as the protector of the Jews, but rather as their enemy, he was to be superseded,] and sent upon earth for this purpose one of the ever-happy and glorious _æons_, whose name was Christ; that this Christ chose for his habitation [alluding to the doctrine, then extensively prevalent, of the metempsychosis, or transmigration of one being into another] the person of Jesus, a man of the most illustrious sanctity and justice, the son of Joseph and Mary, and descending in the form of a _dove_, entered into him while he was receiving the baptism of John in the waters of Jordan; that Jesus, after his union with Christ, opposed himself with vigor to the _God of the Jews_, [_i. e._, He whom the Jews originally worshipped as their Creator and Lawgiver, the Angel Jehovah, now fallen,] and was, by his instigation, seized and crucified by the Hebrew chiefs; that when Jesus was taken captive, [_i. e._, by the instigation of Jehovah the Creator,] Christ ascended upon high, so that the man Jesus alone was subjected to the pains of an ignominious death. Cerinthus required of his followers that they should worship the Father of Christ, even the _Supreme God_, in conjunction with the Son; [_i. e._, the _æon_ whom he calls Christ;] that they should abandon the Lawgiver of the Jews, whom he [from his knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, or of the Chaldee paraphrases] looked upon _as the Creator of the world_; that they should retain a part of the law given by Moses, but should, nevertheless, employ their principal attention and care to regulate their lives by the precepts of Christ," [_i. e._, the glorious _æon_.] To encourage them to this, "he promised the resurrection of the body;" [_i. e._, though he denied the death, and therefore the resurrection of Christ, he held to that of man at the second coming;] and held "that Christ will one day return upon earth, and, renewing his former union with the man Jesus, [_i. e._, by then raising him from the dead,] will reign with his people in the land of Palestine during a thousand years." Cent. I. part 2, chap. 5, sec. 16. There can be no mistake as to the source of what is correct in this creed, nor as to the state of mind in which its stupendous errors were conceived and propagated.
Marcion, Basilides, and others among the Gnostic leaders of the _Asiatic_ and _Egyptian_ sects in the second century, held, in respect to a creator and creation, sentiments very similar to those of Cerinthus. The Valentinians, a very numerous sect, were taught by Valentine their chief, as is recorded in Mosheim, "_That the Creator of this world_," whom, in common with most of the heretics of that period, he took to be a creature, "_came by degrees to imagine himself to be God alone_, or, at least, to desire that mankind should consider him as such." He therefore "sent forth prophets to the Jewish nation, to declare his claim to the honor that is due to the Supreme Being." The Patripassians asserted the unity of God in such a manner as to exclude all distinction of Persons; and in this respect they were imitated by the Sabellians of the ensuing century.
The leading features of nearly all the heresies of the first three centuries, especially those which were widely diffused and long perpetuated, whether invented by minds imbued by the Oriental philosophy or with hereditary Jewish opinions and prejudices related to the Creator and the works of creation. The best of them were in that particular, for substance, like the heresy of Arius in the fourth century, who taught "that the Son was the _first_ and _noblest_ of these beings, whom God the _Father_ had created out of nothing, and was the instrument by whose subordinate operation the universe was made." The Council of Nice, convened in 325 to suppress this heresy, appears scarcely to have checked its progress; and during the protracted discussions and contests which ensued, and which agitated both the eastern and western divisions of the Church, there is probably no single instance of a simple scriptural statement respecting the Trinity, and the Person and work of the Mediator, except in the case of such as dissented and seceded from the Established Church, and were persecuted by all parties in that Church. The attention of those whom the Councils called orthodox, in distinction from heretics, was absorbed by attempts to explain the inexplicable questions in controversy. They sought in this way to answer and confound their opponents. The heretics nowhere in these controversies bring into view anything scriptural, anything better than Paganism, with respect to a Mediator; nor could they, consistently with the nature of the dogmas and opinions which they contended for.
The disciples of the reformed Magianism of Zoroaster ascribed the creation to the one supreme, invisible Deity, who was to be worshipped directly, not through images, nor through a Mediator, nor any intermediate agencies.
The Gentile Gnostics, in distinction from Cerinthus and other Judaizers, in their attempts to subordinate Christianity to their system--which taught that all evil resided in and proceeded from matter, and therefore that the world could not have been created by a good being--ascribed the creation to a created evil being, the evil principle, Satan. They therefore rejected the Old Testament as irreconcilable with this system. Prior to the Advent, they worshipped Satan as creator, and as having chief control in the whole course of things in the world, and being an over-match for the antagonist, good principle: and honoring him in this way, they held Cain, and his other most conspicuous followers and supporters, in the highest veneration. Yearning for some relief from the unmitigated and intolerable miseries which they suffered in their warfare with their bodies, which, as matter, they deemed the seat of corruption, they hailed the appearance of the good principle in Christianity, supported as it was by demonstrations of resistless power, as likely to defeat the antagonist evil principle, the Devil, to whom they still ascribed the creation of the world. Instead of longer worshipping him, therefore, they now taught _that the Supreme Deity, the Creator of the Devil, was to be worshipped. This was the doctrine which undoubtedly had been lost to all idolaters, and which they now promised to restore_.
Cerinthus, in his attempts to combine Gnosticism and Christianity with Judaism and the Hebrew Scriptures, as he understood them, maintains, not that the world was created by the supreme, invisible Deity, for he did not so understand those writings, but that the Being to whom Moses ascribes the creation and government of the world (and whom he calls Jehovah) was a derived, begotten, created being, and therefore liable to degenerate; that though originally endowed with the greatest virtues, he fell; (he had forsaken the Jews, and they had renounced him;) that his Creator, the Supreme Deity, had therefore determined to destroy his empire, (the dominion and rule which he exercised, prior to his quitting the temple, and also after becoming, in their opinion, the enemy of the Jews;) that the Christ, so far from being the same person, Son of the Supreme Deity, and Creator, was a wholly different being in all respects, a created being, sent expressly to supersede and destroy the Creator and Jewish lawgiver; that, taking possession of the person of Jesus, he set himself vigorously to oppose Jehovah the Creator, who, in self-defense, contrived to induce the Jews to crucify the man Jesus, the Christ in the mean time having forsaken him. Accordingly, he taught his followers that they "should abandon the Lawgiver of the Jews, whom he looked upon as the Creator of the world," _i. e._, the Jehovah of the Old Testament; and that they should worship the Supreme Deity as the Father of the Æon whom he called Christ, in conjunction with that Christ, or Æon, assuming him to be the same with him whom the Christians called the Christ and the Son; conformably to his notion that Christ, having entered the man Jesus at his baptism, withdrew from him before his death. He denied his resurrection, and was, very probably, a disciple of the false teacher referred to and refuted in Paul's argument, 1 Cor. xv.
To show that the Oriental philosophy, which comprehended the leading principles of the false, in opposition to the revealed system of religion, and that the early heresies, which, being founded on the Oriental philosophy, passed under the imposing title of Gnosticism, ascribed the creation and government of the world to Satan, the following quotations are made from Mosheim's Commentaries, Cent. I., sec. 60, 61:
"By none of its adversaries or corrupters was Christianity, from its first rise, more seriously injured; by none was the Church more grievously lacerated, and rendered less attractive to the people, than by those who were for making the religion of Christ accommodate itself to the principles of the Oriental philosophy respecting the Deity, the origin of the world, the nature of matter and the human soul. We allude to those who, from their pretending that they were able to communicate to mankind, at present held in bondage by the Architect of the world, a correct knowledge (_gnosis_) of the true and ever-living God, were commonly styled Gnostics. Intoxicated with a fondness for these opinions, not a few of the Christians were induced to secede from all association with the advocates for the sound doctrine, and to form themselves into various sects, which, as time advanced, became daily more extensive and numerous, and were for several ages productive of very serious inconveniences and evils to the Christian commonwealth.... It is by no means difficult to point out the way in which these people contrived to make the religion of Christ appear to be altogether in unison with their favorite system of discipline. All the philosophers of the East, whose tenets, as we have seen, were, that the Deity had nothing at all to do with matter, the nature and qualities of which they considered to be malignant and poisonous; that the body was held in subjection by a being entirely distinct from Him to whom the dominion over the rational soul belonged; that the world, and all terrestrial bodies, were not the work of the Supreme Being, the Author of all good, but were formed out of matter by a nature either evil in its origin, or that had fallen into a state of depravity; and lastly, that the knowledge of the true Deity had become extinct, and that the whole race of mankind, instead of worshipping the Father of Light and Life, and source of every thing good, universally paid their homage to the Founder and Prince of this nether world, or to his substitutes and agents: I say all these looked forward with earnest expectation for the arrival of an extraordinary and eminently powerful Messenger of the Most High, who, they imagined, would deliver the captive souls of men from the bondage of the flesh, and rescue them from the dominion of those genii by whom they supposed the world and all matter to be governed; at the same time communicating to them a correct knowledge of their everlasting Parent, so as to enable them, upon the dissolution of the body, once more to regain their long-lost liberty and happiness. An expectation of this kind even continues to be cherished by their descendants of the present day. Some of these philosophers, then, being struck with astonishment at the magnitude and splendor of the miracles wrought by Christ and his apostles, and perceiving that it was the object of our Lord's ministry both to abrogate the Jewish law--a law which they conceived to have been promulgated by the Architect or Founder of the world himself, or by the chief of his agents--and also to overthrow those gods of the nations whom they regarded as genii, placed over mankind by the same evil spirit; hearing him, moreover, invite the whole world to join in the worship of the one Omnipotent and only true God, and profess that he came down from heaven for the purpose of redeeming the souls of men, and restoring them to liberty, were induced to believe that he was that very Messenger for whom they looked, the Person ordained by the Everlasting Father, to destroy the dominion of the founder of this world as well as of the genii who presided over it; to separate light from darkness, and to deliver the souls of men from that bondage to which they were subjected, in consequence of their connection with material bodies. To various articles propounded in the Christian code as essential points of belief, they utterly refused their assent: such, for instance, as that which attributes the creation of the world to the Supreme Being, and those respecting the divine origin of the Mosaic law, the authority of the Old Testament, the character of human nature, and the like: for it would have amounted to nothing short of an absolute surrender of the leading maxims of the system to which they were devoted, had they not persisted in maintaining that the creator of this world was a being of a nature vastly inferior to the Supreme Deity, the Father of our Lord, and that the law of Moses was not dictated by the Almighty, but by this same inferior being, by whom also the bodies of men were formed and united to souls of ethereal mould, and under whose influence the various penmen of the Old Testament composed whatever they have left us on record." Again, "according to the Gnostic scheme, an absolute and entire dominion over the human race, and the globe we inhabit, is exercised by the founder of the material world, a being of unbounded pride and ambition, who makes use of every means in his power to prevent mankind from attaining to any knowledge of the true God."
It is too plain to require a comment, that the fallen creature to whom, in this religious system, the creation of the world is ascribed, and to whom the nations universally paid their homage, was Satan; and that the genii, his subordinates, were the angels who fell with him. On the other hand, the Divine Messenger expected as the antagonist and conqueror of Satan, could be no other than the Messenger Jehovah, appointed and sent by the Everlasting Father.
Mosheim, in his Commentaries, Introduction, chap. 2, observes, that the Jewish religion, at the time of our Saviour's appearance, "was contaminated by errors of the most flagrant kind; even in the service of the temple itself, numerous ceremonies and observances, drawn from the religious worship of heathen nations, had been introduced and blended with those of Divine institution; and in addition to superstitions like these of a public nature, many erroneous principles, probably either brought from Babylon and Chaldea by the ancestors of the people at their return from captivity, or adopted by the thoughtless multitude in conformity to the example of their neighbors the Greeks, the Syrians, and the Egyptians, were cherished and acted upon in private."
Again, "To the prince of darkness, with his associates and agents, they attributed an influence over the world and mankind of the most extensive nature; so predominant, indeed, as scarcely to leave a superior degree of power even with the Deity himself."
"At the time of Christ's appearance, many of the Jews had imbibed the principles of the Oriental philosophy respecting the origin of the world, and were much addicted to the study of a recondite sort of learning derived from thence, to which they gave the name of _Cabbala_. The founders of several of the Gnostic sects, all of whom, we know, were studious to make the Christian religion accommodate itself to the principles of the ancient Oriental philosophy, _had been originally Jews_, and exhibited in their tenets a strange mixture of the doctrines of Moses, Christ, and Zoroaster. This is of itself sufficient to prove that many of the Jews were in no small degree attached to the opinions of the ancient Persians and Chaldeans. Such of them as had adopted these irrational principles would not admit that the world was created by God, but substituted, in the place of the Deity, _a celestial genius_ endowed with vast powers; from whom, also, they maintained that Moses had his commission, and the Jewish law its origin. To the coming of the Messiah, or deliverer, promised by God to their fathers, they looked forward with hope, expecting that he would put an end to the dominion of the being whom they thus regarded as the maker and ruler of the world." Mosheim, Int., Com., chap. 2.
It would be alike tedious and useless much further to multiply citations from the history of Gnostic and other Oriental writers, to show that the nations represented by those writers regarded Satan as the creator of the world and god of their idolatry.
"Beyond that vast expanse, refulgent with everlasting light, which was considered as the immediate habitation of the Deity and those natures which had been generated from him, these philosophers placed the seat of matter, where, according to them, it had lain from all eternity, a rude, undigested, opaque mass, agitated by turbulent, irregular motions of its own provoking, and nurturing, as in a seed-bed, the rudiments of vice and every species of evil. In this state it was found by a genius or celestial spirit of the higher order, who had been either driven from the abode of the Deity for some offense, or commissioned by him for the purpose, _and who reduced it into order, and gave it that arrangement and fashion which the universe now wears_. Those who spoke the Greek tongue were accustomed to refer to this _creator of the world_ by the name of _Demiurgus_. Matter received its inhabitants, both men and other animals, from the same hand that had given to it disposition and symmetry.... When all things were thus completed, Demiurgus, _revolting_ against the great First Cause of every thing, the all-wise and omnipotent God, _assumed to himself the exclusive government of this new state_, which he apportioned out into provinces or districts; bestowing the administration and command over them on a number of genii or spirits of inferior degree, who had been his associates and assistants." Mosheim, Intro., sec. 34.
"In the following respects, they [the Gnostic sects] appear to have been all of one mind; namely, that in addition to the Deity, _matter_, the root and cause of every thing evil and depraved, had existed from all eternity, that this corrupt matter had not been reduced into order by the Supreme and all-benevolent Deity, but by a nature of a far inferior rank; that the founder of the world, therefore, and the Deity, were beings between whom no sort of relationship whatever existed." Ibid., 1., sec. 65.
These representations of the sentiments of the Orientals may suffice to show that the Arch-apostate claimed to be the creator and prince of this world, and led his followers to adopt that usurped and impious claim as a primary article of their faith, and to worship and serve him accordingly. Nor does it otherwise seem possible to account for the origin and adoption, at a very early period, of the doctrine of two antagonist principles or powers, one as the creator of the world and author of all evil, the other as an ineffectually counteracting agent of good.
Divested of Eastern figure, and of bias from Western notions of mythology and polytheism, the Oriental doctrine plainly exhibits Satan as the creator and ruler of this world, and, on that ground, as exacting the homage of its population. This primary arrogation on his part is the ground of all idolatry, and of the great heresies of Gnostic and Popish origin. Accordingly, the great antagonism which, since the fall, has been in progress in the view of the whole universe, and of which the termination is to fill the hosts of heaven with adoring and rapturous ecstacy, and the ransomed Church with ceaseless exultation and praise, exhibits the great Adversary as chief of a rebel faction of his own species, instigating the original revolt, and ruling as his vassals the race of man, arrogating the titles and prerogatives of the Creator and Sovereign of the world, and persisting in his rebellion, usurpation, and rivalship, till finally vanquished and imprisoned, his purposes defeated, and his works destroyed; and at length displays, on the other hand, the majesty and power, the titles, prerogatives, and rights, the supremacy, rectitude and glory of the self-existent Creator, Proprietor and rightful Sovereign, effectually reässerted, vindicated, and universally acknowledged.
In these earliest and most prevalent systems of heresy are contained the perversions and false doctrines against which the contemporaries and the immediate and later orthodox successors of the apostles were called to contend; and they present in bold relief the points brought into controversy, as they are indicated in the creeds and decrees of Councils specially convened to condemn and suppress them.
To meet the doctrine advanced by the earliest and adopted by the later heretics, that the creation and government of the world was the work of a creature, supposed by some to be the Evil One; by others, a being originally good, but afterwards degenerate; by some, to be one of two rival creatures; by others, to have derived his birth from the Supreme God; they, rejecting with abhorrence such ideas of the Creator, and all the notions associated with them, and impelled by their philosophy, as well as by their knowledge and regard for the Scriptures, to assert in the plainest manner that the Creator of all things is himself uncreated--God, in distinction from creatures--planted themselves upon that as an impregnable position.
But they had at the same time to maintain the doctrines of the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. They were to assert the Deity of Christ, whom the heretics held to be a creature, and yet ascribed to him the works of creation. It is at least natural to suppose that, to avoid giving the heretics any advantage in popular argument, and to use expressions importing the broadest contrast to theirs, they at first ascribed the creation to God, without any reference to the distinction of Persons in the Godhead; or, to maintain that doctrine at the same time, and to meet the point in question as to the Deity of the Creator, they ascribed the works of creation and providence to God the Father. Whatever may have been the process, this was the result. It is not unlikely that, at the date of the Apostles' and the Nicene Creeds, there were many who at length joined in adopting them, who from ignorance, or from the sway of heretical influences, were greatly confused upon these subjects; many, more or less perverted by Gnostic and Judaizing dogmas; many who saw no possibility of maintaining the doctrines which they held concerning the Father, as the Father of Christ the Son by _eternal generation_, and as the fountain of all authority and power, without specifically ascribing to him the works of creation and providence; many who, relying on the doctrine of the _eternal_ generation of the Son, as the most conclusive and unanswerable proof of his Divinity, confined their attention to that, and saw no possibility of meeting and counteracting the dogmas of Cerinthus, or of other heretics, if they ascribed the creation to the Son.
It must be considered that the terms which they employed were adopted expressly to meet the growing and fatal errors which infested the Church; and that they had, at the date of the Nicene Creed, a most powerful motive to concession and accommodation for the sake of unity, in the notion already prevalent concerning schism--defection from the faith of the dominant or Catholic Church, or separation from that body on that account--as a mortal sin.
It was pointedly to their purpose to maintain, in opposition to Cerinthus, that the Christ was the Son of God, and the only being designated by that title; and equally to their purpose, in opposition to Arius, to maintain that he was not created. They were to meet these points somehow, or accomplish nothing against the most formidable heresies. They hit upon a phraseology which, if it be not wholly unintelligible to mortals, was probably then deemed to be unanswerable, in the assertion that he was the Son by _eternal generation_; begotten, not made, &c.
The language of the creeds, hereafter more particularly referred to, is presumed to have become gradually familiar to the opposers of heresy before it was embodied in those formularies. They express in a condensed form the sentiments and terms by which the leading controvertists repelled the dominant heresies of the time.
It is worthy of a passing notice, that from the origin of the Assyrian empire down to the Christian era, the sway, over the whole Pagan world, of the Oriental doctrines, embodied in the Sabian, Magian, Brahminical, Lamaist, Boodhist, and other systems, laid the foundation and prepared the way for the rise and spread of the Mohammedan imposture, after those doctrines had, by the propagation of Christianity, been in some degree intercepted and modified within, and in some directions beyond, the limits of the Roman empire. The theory of the system of Mohammed, like that ascribed to Zoroaster, which aimed to unite the Sabians, who worshipped images, and the Magians, who refused them, with the Jews of Babylon and its provinces after they had renounced idolatry and the doctrine of mediation, involved a union of the same school of Jews in the seventh century, with the nominal but already apostate churches (churches characterized by Gnostic heresies and Pagan corruptions) of Babylonia, Syria, Asia Minor, Egypt, Northern Africa, Spain, &c.
Hence the first and, with respect to the Divine Being, the only article of the Mohammedan faith is that of THE UNITY. For this, the Jews, the judaizing professors of Christianity, the Cerinthians, Arians, &c., were prepared; and in like manner for the exclusion of the doctrine of mediation and the consequent proscription of images and sacrificial offerings.
Who that considers the character and mission of Mohammed, as depicted Rev. ix. 1-12, and illustrated by the histories of his time, can fail to regard him as, in the hands of the great Adversary, one of the most extraordinary visible agents of his antagonism. With no preliminary indications, like a meteor fallen to the earth, he suddenly appears on the scene. He receives the key and opens the abyss of darkness. The blinding smoke of the pit ascends, and generates a locust army with the power of scorpions, led on by Satan as their king, "whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, the Destroyer." As visible head of the apostate faction, he subdues, and with enduring chains of mental darkness manacles and holds fast the Eastern empire: while, in the Western, essentially the like results, under the same leadership, are accomplished by the head of the Papal hierarchy.
These great systems of influence and control, by which, in the Eastern world, the Arch-deceiver held the human mind in bondage, required and depended on implicit, unquestioning faith. Thus, throughout the Roman empire prior to the Advent, and subsequently in the eastern division, under the Mohammedan, and in the western, under the Popish faith.
The shock of the Reformation awaked and roused up the mind of western Europe, and brought new antagonist influences into operation, which, by recalling attention to the Scriptures as the only rule of faith, by giving prominence to the cardinal doctrines of redemption, and by a revival of learning, threatened wholly to subvert the dominion of Popish superstition and imposture.
This aspect of his affairs required a new course of tactics on the part of the great Adversary, by which the tendencies, intellectual, speculative, philosophical, scientific, which were rising and spreading, might be so perverted as to counteract the objects of the Reformation, and, in place of the former outward and vulgar superstition, to give sway to infidelity; a course of tactics adapted to the intellects of men, stimulated to inquiry and earnest in the pursuit of knowledge; a course by which the peculiar doctrines of the Scriptures and of the Reformation, and the reality of inspiration and of miracles, might be explained away, and by which, in effect, the arrogations of the Arch-deceiver and the Pope, of lordship over men's minds, and over the province of theological dogma, together with an ascendency of influence in the seats of intellectual and physical science, might be imputed and transferred to HUMAN REASON.
REASON, thus deified and installed as in a pontifical chair, _progressively developed_ its hierarchs and suffragans in the seats of learning, secular and sacred, in every part of the Protestant world. Witness the rise, progress and results of this course of tactics in Germany itself. Witness the infidel and atheistic fruits of this homage of reason, in the departments of German metaphysics, theology, criticism, physical science, &c. Witness the stealthy, insidious, infectious inculcation and progress of this infidelity, in the same departments, on this side of the Atlantic,--in some universities and colleges under cover of the principles and discoveries of natural science; in some theological schools, in the name of the science of criticism, interpretation, &c. in lyceums and halls of popular resort, by scientific lectures; and at the doors and in the face of all, by the ceaseless issues of the press.
Can any observer within the precincts of Protestantism account, upon any other view of the subject, for the progress and effects of this infection, with its intuitional, conceptional, subjective and transcendental cant; for its fascinating and transforming power over men previously trained in schools of an opposite character; for its leavenous working in scientific and ecclesiastical fraternities, or its popular effects as administered orally and by the press? Must we not suppose a subtle and powerful agency behind the scenes, as truly as in the case of Gnosticism, Mohammedanism, Romanism, Mormonism? Has not experience shown that a teacher from the pulpit or from a theological or literary chair, who, notwithstanding his knowledge of the Scriptures and of their peculiar doctrines, begins to exhibit signs of his conversion to German rationalism in any respect; to pantheism, idealism, neology, infidelity under any of its designations; soon becomes confident, pertinacious, progressive, and at length is recognized as having ceased to be restrained either by his former principles and professions, or by the authority of the sacred oracles? In short, if the Evil One is still abroad, seeking whom he may devour; if he is what the Scriptures represent him to be; and if, through the great organisms and mediums of domination above referred to, he still carries on his warfare, we must needs conclude, from its nature and results, that he is equally the prime mover and the actuating power of this rationalistic system, deceiver of the educated through their idolatry of reason; as of the ignorant through the imposing forms of superstition and the arts of priestcraft.
Subject of the last Chapter continued--Results of the earliest and most prevalent Heresies.
During the first age after the apostles, the Scripture doctrines respecting the Trinity, and the Person and work of the Mediator, appear to have prevailed in the Church generally; afterwards a change of phraseology among the leaders and teachers of the Church took place, and the work of creation came to be ascribed, not to the Son, but to the Father.
Tertullian, about the close of the second century, in his answer to Praxeas, who founded the sect of Monarchians, expressed himself in scriptural terms respecting the Trinity and the Person of Christ; and describes the faith which he held in that respect, as that which had obtained from the beginning of the gospel; _i. e._, among those admitted to be orthodox. He soon after separated from the Catholic Church. About fifty years later, the Bishop of Carthage procured the excommunication of the Reformer Novatian, founder of the Cathari, or Puritans of that day, who, following his example, formed numerous seceding churches all over the empire, which flourished during the two succeeding centuries, and a succession of them down to the Reformation. "He was," says Mosheim, "a man of uncommon learning and eloquence." He wrote a work upon the subject of the Trinity, of which the first eight sections relate to the Father; the next twenty to Christ: the Old Testament prophecies concerning him--their actual accomplishment--his nature--how the Scriptures prove his divinity--confutes the Sabellians--shows that it was Christ who appeared to the patriarchs, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, &c.
From the character ascribed to Novatian by ecclesiastical historians; from the censures cast upon him by the Popish writers, who represent him as the first antipope, author of the heresy of Puritanism, and parent of an innumerable multitude of seceding Puritan congregations all over the empire; from his work above alluded to, written in 257, six years after his separation from the dominant Church; and from the known character of the Cathari, he is doubtless to be regarded as an eminent example of primitive scriptural faith, and a distinguished leader of those who, driven into the wilderness by persecution, perpetuated that faith essentially and in most particulars down to the era of Luther.
The Paulicians, whose rise is dated in the seventh century, appear to have been of similar character. To these succeeded the Waldenses, Albigenses, and other true worshippers in the valleys of Piedmont.
The Waldenses, in their creed of 1120, adopt all the articles of the so-called Apostles' Creed. They distinctly express their faith in the Trinity and in the canonical books of Scripture, which, they say, "teach us that there is one God, almighty, unbounded in wisdom and infinite in goodness, and who in his goodness has made all things." In another Confession, dated 1544, they say: "We believe that there is but one God, who is a spirit--the Creator of all things--the Father of all, who is above all," &c.
The Confessions of the Waldenses were approved by Luther and the other Reformers. Luther published them in 1533, with a preface.
But the Creed called the Apostles', which the Waldenses in their first article adopt, expressly ascribes the work of creation to the Father: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord." Probably this formula should not be dated so early as the first, or even the second century. The Creed called the Nicene, which was in 325 adopted by the Council of Nice in opposition to the Gnostics, the Judaizers, and the heresy of Arius, comprises various terms explanatory of the views then held concerning the Son, while it speaks of the Father as the maker of all things. "We believe in one God, _the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible_. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten: begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father. God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father," &c.
The Second General Council, which was held at Constantinople in 383, determined that the Nicene Creed should be the standard of orthodoxy.
This creed continued to be held by the Roman Catholic Church, and was adopted and still continues in use by the Protestant Episcopal Churches both of Great Britain and this country.
Probably the phraseology both of the Nicene and the Apostles' Creed, in respect to the ascription of the works of creation _to God the Father_, having been adopted and followed by all succeeding writers of authority, was received and acquiesced in by all the Reformers and the different Protestant denominations, and thus, coinciding essentially with the Talmudists and Rabbinical Doctors, was in every way sanctioned and commended as an example to our translators.
In the Confession of Faith and Catechism of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and that of this country, there is indeed, in respect to the subject under consideration, a less exact copy than in earlier Confessions of the phraseology of the Nicene formula. The work of creation is, however, in no respect ascribed to the Mediator personally. The doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son is very distinctly avowed; and the works of creation are ascribed to God, though not with any restricted reference to the Father, as distinguished from the other Persons.
These brief references may serve to show that the ascription of the work of creation by some to the Father, in such a manner as to indicate that it is his personally, and by others to the Deity, in distinction from the delegated official Person and work of the Mediator, owed its origin primarily to the nature of the heresies and controversies by which the Church was agitated, and the methods of the orthodox in defending the doctrines of the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ, against the Judaizers, the Gnostics, the Arians, and others; and was handed down in their treatises and creeds from one age to another. In the same way the doctrine of _eternal_ generation, and all the phraseology in the Nicene Creed, for example, respecting the Son, which is not to be found in like terms in the Holy Scriptures, appears to have arisen. And it is to be observed that, in close connection with these opinions as adopted by Protestants, is the doctrine that the personal and official work of the Mediator had respect only to the redemption of man, and commenced in personal acts not till his appearance incarnate.
In view of the origin, nature, and tendency of the heresies above referred to, their extended influence, and the manner in which they were controverted, one can hardly avoid the conclusion, that the order of Divine instruction in the most essential particulars was inverted, by the assumption of some and the acquiescence therein of others, that the Old Testament revealed only the one invisible Deity absolutely considered, as the Creator and Governor of the world, whose oneness or unity was so regarded by one class as to preclude the idea of any personal distinction in the Godhead; and so regarded by many others, who held both the unity and the distinction of Persons, as to lead them, irrespective of that distinction, to ascribe the works of creation and providence to the one Supreme Deity, or to the Father.
Of the class first above mentioned were the Jews at the period of the Incarnation. They therefore opposed and rejected the Messiah, on account of his Divine pretensions, making himself a distinct Person of the Godhead, equal with God. They looked not for a Messiah of such a character, nor for deliverance from sin through faith in his vicarious sufferings, nor for a salvation which was to be extended to the Gentiles. They held to justification by their ritual services and obedience to the law of Moses, and desired only a Messiah or leader who should deliver them from temporal evils.
There were, at that period, considerable numbers of Jews resident in the several provinces of the Roman empire, who, following the early examples of their kindred in Judea, opposed and persecuted those who believed in the Divinity of Jesus the crucified, as the true Messiah. At the same time they professed the utmost zeal for the doctrine of the Unity, and for the exclusive worship of the one Supreme Deity, and associated their rejection of the gospel and its Author with their vehement opposition to idolatry. As the preaching of the gospel was extended from Jerusalem to the provinces, many Jews professed to receive it, who, retaining their former religious opinions and prejudices, and setting up to be preachers, endeavored to subvert the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, and to subject the converts, real and nominal, to their notions of Judaism and of the ritual of Moses. These Judaizing teachers still insisted on justification by the works of the law, held firmly to their national prejudices, exclusive privileges, and hatred of the Gentiles, and to fortify themselves, joined with those Gentile heretics whose errors were consistent with their own.
The Jews themselves far exceeded all others in opposing the doctrines of the gospel, and persecuting those who embraced them. "Other nations," says Justin Martyr to Trypho, [A. D. 115 or 120,] "are not so culpable for the injury that is done to us and to Christ himself, as you, who first caused them to entertain so great a prejudice against that Just One, and us his disciples and followers. For after you had crucified him who alone was unblamable and just, by whose stripes they are healed who come unto the Father by him; after ye knew that he was risen from the dead and ascended up into heaven, as the ancient prophecies foretold concerning him; ye were so far from repenting of those evil deeds which ye have committed, that even then _ye dispatched from Jerusalem, into all countries, select missionaries, to inform them that the impious sect of Christians, lately sprung up, worshipped no God_; and to spread abroad those false and scandalous reproaches which all that are unacquainted with us and our religion do even to this day lay to our charge." Brown's Version, sec. 17. The Jews denounced the Christians as atheists, because they worshipped the Christ as God, instead of restricting their homage to Him whom they regarded as the one Supreme, invisible Creator.
Under the influence so widely diffused from this source, and that of the heresies above referred to, the Church passed into the dark cloud of Popish superstition, ignorance, and imposture. The era of inspiration and miracles had passed. The idolatrous forms of paganism were transferred from the heathen to the so-called Christian temples. The theory of religion then, combining elements from Judaism, Oriental philosophy, Paganism, and Christianity, was practically accommodated to the heart of man in his natural state. Modes of interpretation were introduced, by which truth, so far as it was admitted, was made to serve all the ends and purposes of error. The Popish system, for example, while it retains, in terms, the doctrine of the Trinity, denies all those collateral and dependent truths which render that doctrine of any value in the affair of man's salvation. It allows the Divinity of Jesus Christ, but supersedes him in respect to his sacerdotal and regal offices, and in effect denies his personality. In place of his atonement, it substitutes the Mass. To supersede or obviate his personal mediation, it offers, like Paganism, a thousand creature mediators. To nullify his personality, and the admission of his Divinity, it professes even to create him.
The subjects of controversy to which these heresies gave rise were such as, under the influence of certain controlling circumstances, unavoidably to change or modify the faith, in respect to some doctrines, of those who continued to be in the main evangelical. The circumstances referred to resulted from the nationalization of the Church, the assumption by the civil power of legislative authority over its doctrines and all its concerns, and the consequent prescription, under the severest penalties, of entire uniformity of faith and worship. Hence, when heresies arose and spread, Councils were called to suppress them, and to prescribe the rule of faith which was to be enforced. Their determinations, of course, must be in conformity not only with the opinions of a majority of those convened, but with the sentiments of the reigning emperor. Whenever he and the majority of those summoned to a Council were inclined to Arianism, image worship, and the like, those who held the primitive faith had to choose between a surrender of their principles and deposition, banishment, or death. The tendency of this course of things to drive the true confessors of Christ into the wilderness, and to induce the best of those who remained in the so-called Catholic Church to dissemble, and to adopt the sentiments and phraseology of those whom they deemed to be in error, is too apparent to require any illustration.
Now those controversies from the first with the Gnostics, the Cerinthians, Valentinians, Monarchians, Sabellians, Manichæans, Arians, and various others, related to the character of the Supreme Being, the Creator; the mode of Divine existence; the Trinity; the Person of Christ; and topics intimately connected with these. The changes and modifications of phraseology and sentiment which, for the sake of unity, or for other reasons, the more evangelical adopted, as in the Nicene Creed and in their theological writings, were regularly handed down to the period of the Reformation. These writings were studied, and had their influence with the Reformers, on their receding from the corruptions of Popery.
In this way, a departure in some things from the patriarchal, the early Jewish and the primitive Christian faith, is believed to have taken place; particularly in the omission to ascribe the works of creation and providence to the Christ, in his delegated personal character as Mediator, and ascribing those works to the Father; and in adopting the sentiments that the mediatorial work commenced after the fall, and had for its sole object the salvation of men, and that his second coming and reign would not be personal and visible, but only spiritual, at least not until the final judgment and consummation of all things.
The first of these errors--that of ascribing the creation to the Father personally, or to the invisible Deity, irrespective of any distinction of Persons in the Godhead--is to be traced back in the line of the Jews to the period of the Babylonish exile, and to the influences and state of mind under which they renounced idolatry, and with it the entire doctrine of mediation, and all belief in a divine, atoning, and interceding Messiah; and, obscuring by their traditions and glosses, or wholly rejecting, those prophecies which relate to the first advent and sufferings of the Saviour, looked for a human deliverer and temporal chief, a king to resume the throne of David, in those predictions of the second advent which indicate a period of universal peace and happiness.
The Jews, previously to their exile, had both in respect to their knowledge of divine things and their practice, greatly degenerated. They had long been addicted to idolatry. They had rejected their Divine Protector and King, and yielded themselves to the false notions and corrupt practices of the heathen. The Divine presence and favor were withdrawn. They were afflicted and driven out of their country. Prophets were sent to instruct, admonish, and encourage them; but they refused to hear, being hardened and blinded in unbelief. They regarded the God of Abraham, the Jehovah who led them out of Egypt, and, in the Shekina, presided over their nation, either as having become their enemy, or as having withdrawn from them for ever. Under these circumstances, there is ground to conclude that they willingly settled down in the notion of a Supreme Creator, invisible, far removed from the concerns of mortals, and indifferent or inattentive to them. On abandoning the forms of idolatry, and rejecting the pretended mediators of idolatrous worship, while yet continuing impenitent, and maintaining a proud and haughty spirit as Jews, though now depressed, and apparently abandoned of God; they are believed to have banished from their minds all near apprehensions of the Divine Being, and all ideas of a Divine Mediator, and to have taken refuge in the abstract notion of a Supreme Creator, who, though no longer regarded as their covenant God and present protector, had promised a leader, a Messiah, who should deliver them from their temporal calamities.
Such is believed to have been their state of mind at the close of their exile; such the change attending their renunciation of idolatry; and that the error and defect in question, respecting the teachings of the Old Testament, had its source with them. Their sentiments and state of mind having been perpetuated down to the period of the Advent, were propagated afterwards in the manner above referred to.
There was, indeed, a partial, outward reformation under Nehemiah, after the return from Babylon, and the temple service was resumed; but the Shekina did not reäppear, and there was no general or lasting change amongst the people. The Chaldee expositors, and afterwards the paraphrasts, labored to revive and perpetuate the lost meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures; but though a few, a remnant, of such as rightly apprehended and truly feared Jehovah were preserved and perpetuated, the theology and religion of the nation generally underwent no important change for the better.
The foregoing considerations may suffice to show how it has happened that the Old Testament has, both by Jews and Christians, so long and so generally been understood to ascribe the works of creation and providence, not to the Mediator, but to the Father, or to the Deity, irrespective of any personal or official distinctions.
That this error, and others intimately associated with it, respecting the person and work of Christ, should have arisen and been perpetuated in the manner specified, cannot reasonably be regarded with surprise. The nature of the case, and the lights of the intervening history, are at war with the supposition that the true doctrines upon these subjects, concerning which the governments, hierarchies, and people of the whole heathen world were in utter darkness and error, were preserved by the Jews after their return from Babylon, and after their rejection of Christ, and by the apostate hierarchy of the Romish system imbued with the spirit and degenerated to the level of Paganism, in all but the name. If, as is notorious, they did not truly teach the doctrines of Scripture upon other subjects, least of all can it be believed that they taught the truth concerning these.
NOTE. Concerning the Work of Creation and its completion at one Epoch.
It is clear from Colossians, chap. i., that the work of creation, there and elsewhere ascribed to the Christ, included the invisible as well as the visible worlds and all creatures; that they were called into existence by him and for him, for the purposes he was to execute and the ends which were to be accomplished by him. He is accordingly referred to as upholding and governing all things, as having all power in heaven and earth, as heir and Lord of all. Angels, principalities and powers are subject to him; and to him in his official character (as visibly manifested "the Son of Man") all judgment is committed.
Now these comprehensive ascriptions to him in his delegated character, and in express connection with his work as Mediator and Redeemer, as in the passage above referred to, and in Heb. i., render it preposterous to suppose that worlds and creatures invisible to us, or any portion of the works of creation, were brought into existence prior to that creation which is described in the Mosaic narrative. For if they were, what conceivable connection or relation could they have had with his person or character as Redeemer, Messiah, God-man? Did he sustain that official character or exercise any of its offices ages prior to the creation of man?
In _the beginning_ He created the heavens and the earth. Gen. i. He was in _the beginning_; all things were made by him. John i. In _the beginning_ he laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands. Heb. i. In six days he made _the_ heavens and the earth. Exodus xx. But if the phrase "in the beginning," so frequently employed in this connection, marks the epoch of the creation of the heavens, it refers that of the earth to the same epoch. The "all things" doubtless include the invisible as well as the visible worlds, and the foundations of the earth were laid _in the beginning_. "Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the sea and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee." Neh. ix. 7. "The heaven and the heaven of heavens is Jehovah's, the earth also with all that therein is." Deut. x. 14. In these and all similar connections, as Gen. i. 1: Exod. xx. 11, where the Hebrew word is in the plural form, _heavens_, the universe of worlds visible and invisible is meant. To preclude all doubt of this comprehensive reference, Moses and Nehemiah, both having occasion to guard against the pretensions of idolatry, employ the phrase, heaven of heavens.
Accordingly, wherever the work of creation is mentioned, whether distinctively as the work of Jehovah, or historically, as including all worlds, the plural word, _the_ heavens, is employed, and put in contrast with _the_ earth. "Thus," at the close of the six days, "the _heavens and the earth_ were finished, and all the host of them." Gen. ii. 1. "These are the generations of _the heavens_ and of _the earth_ when they were created, in _the day_ that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." Gen. ii. 4. "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created _the heavens_ and stretched them out, he that spread forth _the earth_, and that which cometh out of it." Isaiah xlii. 5. "Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee: I am the Lord that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth _the heavens_ alone, that spreadeth abroad _the earth_ by myself." Isaiah xliv. 24. "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his maker, ... I have made _the earth_ and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched forth _the heavens_, and all their hosts have I commanded." Ibid. xlv. 12. "Thus saith the Lord that created _the heavens_; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is none else." Ibid. xlv. 18. "The Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth _the heavens_ and laid the foundations of the earth." Ibid. li. 13. "The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King.... The gods that have not made _the heavens_ and _the earth_, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.... He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Jer. x. 10, &c., also Psalm xcvi. 5; cii. 25, &c., &c.
In these and similar passages, where, in the most comprehensive and unequivocal manner, the creation of all things is asserted, the simultaneous creation of all is clearly indicated in the collocation of the words _the heavens_ and _the earth_, the latter being sometimes placed before and sometimes after the former.
The same plural word is employed in other connections: "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of the heavens and the earth.... I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, possessor of the heavens and the earth." Gen. xiv. "Is not God in the height of the heavens?" Job xxii. "Look down from thy holy habitation, from the heavens, and bless thy people." Deut. xxvi. "O God, look down from the heavens and behold." Psalm lxxx. "The Lord he is God in the heavens above and upon the earth." Deut. iv. "Praise ye the Lord from the heavens.... Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens.... Let them praise the name of Jehovah: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever, he hath made a decree which shall not pass." Psalm cxlviii.
The Scriptures speak of one creation only; and of that, directly and incidentally, in such terms as to leave no room for the supposition that any portion of the material universe was called into existence prior to the Mosaic epoch. They exhibit nothing from which an inference can be derived that all were not created at one epoch. The contrary supposition is not founded on any authority of inspiration, but upon conjecture or assumption. It is by some assumed that by _the heavens_ Moses meant the orbs of our solar system only, or at most, the stars visible in the firmament to the unassisted eye. They think it unreasonable to suppose that in all past eternity nothing was created more than about six thousand years ago. They cannot imagine what the Creator was doing, if he did not exercise his power in creating worlds. But the same supposition might with equal reason be made with respect to any earlier conceivable epoch. For at any such earlier epoch there had been a past eternity, a duration without beginning. The terms of the supposition are solecistical and absurd, so far as relates to the Creator, and with respect to the little mind of man, they are of no significance, unless the invisible worlds are eternal.
It is more obvious than necessary to suggest an astronomical argument against the supposition of successive creations of suns and systems. It is a doctrine of astronomy that our sun with its dependent system revolves round a central orb, as our planets revolve around the sun; but in an orbit of such immense extent as to require near two millions of years, at the rate of thirty millions of miles a year, to accomplish one revolution. From the observations and facts which verify this doctrine, it is legitimate to infer that there is a like revolution of all other suns and systems, and that the laws which govern those vast and complicated movements were established at the creation. With these considerations in view, we may confidently infer that the infinite Creator did not call into existence and establish the relations, motions, and revolutions of a portion of the celestial orbs at one epoch, and another portion at a later epoch, so as to derange all that had been perfected, and require new adjustments, new relations, new movements, new velocities, and peradventure enlarged forces of attraction and gravitation throughout the realms of space.
To judge of the force of this argument, one must, in view of the harmony of the existing material system under the well-known laws which govern it, consider what would be the necessary and inevitable effects of adding to that system new stars equal in number and dimensions to those visible from the earth, or even one other solar system, equal to that to which the earth belongs. Undoubtedly, if our mathematics, our inductive philosophy, and our astronomy are to be relied on, the addition to the existing orbs of one globe like the earth would more or less disturb and derange the whole, or require an infinite miracle to prevent disturbance.
Closely connected with the supposition of worlds created longer ago than the earth, is that of successive creations of plants and animals to supply the defect of new or remote continents and islands. Many who, conformably to the Scriptures, hold to the identity of the human race as descended from one primitive pair, though distributed over all the continents and islands, and exhibiting in many respects extreme diversity, profess nevertheless to believe that there have been many successive creations of brute animals since, if not prior to the deluge. Though pairs of the inferior races as well as of the human race were preserved in the ark, and for the same reason--"to keep seed alive _upon the face of all_ the earth," and though no greater obstacles existed, so far as we know, to the dispersion of the inferior animals to all quarters of the globe than to that of man, they indulge the notion, without any authority from Scripture, or any demonstrable necessity, or any better reason than the exigency of a geological theory, that the Creator of the universe, in the course of his providence over this apostate and blighted world, has, from time to time, exercised his power in creating races of brutes to be subject to the conditions of those who shared in the consequences of the apostasy of man.
Such a notion seems in every view incongruous and preposterous, without reason or necessity, inconsistent with the law of creation in respect to man, and unworthy of the perfections and of the moral purposes and administration of the Creator. It seems to imply the further notion, that the same providence which dispersed and preserved the human race in all quarters and climates of the world, was inadequate to the same results in the case of the lower animals, and that it was of such moment to keep every locality stocked with savage and carnivorous beasts as to call, from time to time, for the interposition of creative power.
The object of the works of creation, as the scene of the moral and providential administration of the Creator, would, in harmony with the announcements of Scripture, seem to imply that they were brought into existence at one epoch. That administration had a beginning: at the beginning he created the scene and subjects of it. It extends to all worlds. It is one comprehensive, universal, perfect system, involving the rights and prerogatives of the Supreme Ruler, which are founded on the fact of his being the Creator of all; and the obligations and duties of intelligent creatures, which arise from the fact of their owing their existence to him.
Now, since there could be no conceivable obstruction to his bringing all the worlds and creatures throughout the realms of space into being at one epoch; and since the administration of which they were to be the scene was to comprehend them all, it would seem better to comport with the admitted object of them and with his infinite perfections, to believe that he created them all at once, than to suppose that he laid the foundation of his empire in part at one and in part at a later epoch. On the latter supposition, it would be easy, at least, to suggest very plausible objections and difficulties, for which, on the former, there is no room.
The passage in Job xxviii., "Whereupon are the foundations of the earth fastened? or who laid the corner-stone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" is by some supposed to imply, that when the earth was created, there were preëxisting worlds and intelligent creatures to witness and celebrate the event. But if such were the meaning of this poetical description, those morning stars must have been such as were visible from the earth, or else the earth could not be supposed to be visible from them. The Scriptures, however, refer to the visible stars as being created at the same time with the earth. In the narrative of the fourth day it is said, "And God made two great lights; ... he made the stars also; and set them in the firmament of heaven, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night," &c. Gen. i. It is not conceivable that the reference in Job should have been meant to exclude the visible stars; and if it included them, then it included celestial worlds which were created simultaneously with the earth. The phrase, "morning stars," doubtless signifies stars visible in the morning. The terms employed in Job may, perhaps, be better rendered, "The stars burst forth together as light, or as the morning."
From the narrative of the temptation in Eden, some imagine that Satan had existed and fallen before the creation of Adam. But there is no reference to that evil being till after Adam and Eve were placed in the garden. How long they were there before the temptation, we know not. It was long enough, however, for them to receive instruction as to the prohibited tree, and for Adam "to give names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field;" long enough for them to become familiar with the place, and with the voice and other tokens of the Creator's presence. Now, on the supposition that all the angelic hosts were created simultaneously with the heavens and the earth, what was there to hinder the apostasy of Satan between the date of that creation and his assault upon Adam, which would not equally have hindered the apostasy of man so soon after his creation? Is it not, from the nature of the case, more probable that Satan revolted very soon after his creation, than at a remote period? As in the case of Adam, who, had he continued holy for scores or thousands of years, would, we may well presume, have been less likely to fall than at the outset of his career, before he had formed habits of obedience, or had the benefit of experience.
It is remarkable with what facility the most preposterous assumptions have been adopted and perpetuated respecting the Creator, the works of creation, providence, moral government, &c., to aid in support of preconceived religious, philosophical, physical, and social theories. The principal religious heresies, whether propounded under the garb of theology or that of philosophy and science, falsely so called, have rested upon false assumptions respecting the character and condition of man as a fallen creature, and the one only Deliverer and way of deliverance, and respecting the character, prerogatives, and rights of the Creator and Ruler of the world, and the nature, epoch, and object of the work of creation. Witness the Gnostic, Arian, Pelagian, Socinian, and other ancient religious heresies, on the one hand; and on the other, the theory of our modern geologists, in its relation to the inspiration, authority, and meaning of the Scriptures, the nature, date and purpose of the creation of the world, and the causes and reasons of the physical changes it has undergone.
The fact that all the great heresies and false systems by which the post-diluvian world has been deceived and held in the bondage of corruption, have risen from false assumptions and erroneous theories concerning the Creator and the work of creation; and from those assumptions and theories, as starting-points, have diverged from the truth as revealed in Scripture; this fact, and the consideration that the rights and prerogatives of Jehovah, in relation to his creatures and their obligations and duties towards him, are founded in the fact of his being the Creator, demonstrate that the account which he has given of his works is of equal authority with the other contents of his Word. It lies at the foundation of his moral law and government, and of his providential administration over all worlds, and is essential to his claim of supreme allegiance and homage from all intelligent creatures. It lies at the foundation of all scriptural faith in God and in the doctrines of his Word, and is the basis of the true, in contradistinction to all false religion.
The great Antagonism--in what manner will it terminate?
The great peculiarity in the history of the human race took its rise in the apostasy of man, and is exhibited in the antagonism between the rightful Sovereign of the world and the instigator of that apostasy, and in the agency, relations and destiny of their respective followers. In the progress of the conflict between the righteous and the wicked, holiness and sin, happiness and misery, light and darkness, truth and falsehood, the desperate malevolence of the Evil One, and the guilt and ruin of his followers, are made manifest to all observers; and on the other hand, the infinite riches of the wisdom, goodness, righteousness and mercy of the great Deliverer towards his followers, in their renewed allegiance and recovery to holiness and happiness, are equally made public. In the announcements of his Word, and in the administration of his moral and providential government over them, the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. The angels who kept not their first estate were reserved to an inevitable doom. The early descendants of the first human pair wholly corrupted their way and filled the earth with violence, and "the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." The immediate successors of those who were preserved in the ark, when, from the works of creation, the teachings of Noah, and the institutions of revealed religion, they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God--misrepresented his invisible attributes, eternal power and Godhead, and the glory of his perfections, visibly displayed in his works of creation and providence--by an image made like to corruptible men, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things; and changed the truth concerning God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Therefore, even as they did not like to retain the true God in their knowledge, he gave them over, in his righteous judgment, to a reprobate mind, to the indulgence of their evil propensities under the instigation of their chosen leader, "the Devil, who deceiveth the whole world;" assuming to be, and usurping the place of, God; leading his deluded followers "captive at his will," and foreshowing, by their condition and conduct on earth, their ultimate doom, as the final destiny of the angels who kept not their first estate is manifested by their conduct while under sentence of condemnation prior to the final judgment.
Throughout the history of this antagonism as recorded in the Old Testament, the great question was, Who is the true God, the Creator, Ruler, Benefactor, to whom all creatures owe allegiance--Jehovah or _the_ Baal? This question was specially and publicly tried on various occasions, as in the plagues of Egypt, in the controversy conducted by Elijah, in that relating to the image erected by Nebuchadnezzar, and many others of less notoriety. In several scores of instances it is the declared purpose of particular dispensations and events that those to whom they referred might be made to know that He, the true God, in opposition to _the_ Baal, was Jehovah. And such, at the final termination of the conflict, will be the resistless and universal conviction: "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Having, in his official character and complex Person, maintained the conflict throughout all the periods and in all the forms of its exhibition, vanquished the great Adversary, redressed the consequences of the fall, and destroyed even death itself, his triumph is complete and final; vindicating all his offices and agency, establishing the facts and doctrines, prerogatives and rights upon which his government is founded, securing for ever the loyalty and bliss of the unfallen and ransomed portions of his empire, and filling the universe with the glory of his person and his name, and with the boundless riches of his wisdom, grace and love. Then will be displayed the vastness and grandeur of the scheme purposed in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, and involving this conflict between the Divine Mediator and the Arch-rebel and his party, that through the redemption, resurrection, and final exaltation and glory of the Church, the Divine perfections might be made known to the unfallen, the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
The chief question which remains concerning this antagonism, relates to the manner of its termination--the means and agencies by which it is to be ended. That it is to end, there is no doubt. That it is to terminate in such a manner as to fill the universe with new and previously inconceivable demonstrations of the majesty, power, and glory of the Messiah, and his people with unprecedented exultation, joy, and praise, the Scriptures abundantly testify. But from a period shortly subsequent to that of his ascension, there has been a difference of opinion in the Church--more or less conspicuous at all times, but never, perhaps, more marked than at present--concerning this great question. That difference of opinion, on the part of the great majority even in the Protestant churches, is believed to be founded in the Rabbinical and figurative interpretations of the Old Testament, formerly referred to; and to include among its principal elements a very defective estimate of those sacred oracles, and an inadequate and erroneous view of their teachings concerning the Person, titles, prerogatives, manifestations, works and purposes of Christ.
On a point of this nature and importance, one might safely infer from the analogy of the past, whether arguing from the history of the Jewish or that of the _nominally_ Christian Church, that the party composing the great majority were not in the right. It is presumed to be quite safe to say, that at every period of any considerable extent of the Jewish Church, after its establishment in Canaan, and more especially after the reign of Solomon, the majority, notwithstanding the writings of Moses and the instructions of the prophets, were under great delusion and error respecting the Messiah and his kingdom; and at the Advent, those who were in the right were few in number compared with the busy scribes, the ostentatious Pharisees, and those doctors of the law who, sitting in Moses' seat, taught the traditions and commandments of men. And of what considerable division of the nominally Christian Church, from the second century to the Reformation, will any one affirm that a great majority were not under deep delusion and error in respect to important points of doctrine and practice? Or of the Romish Church before or since the Reformation, will any one, not a Papist, say that it has not held flagrant and astounding errors concerning the offices and prerogatives of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King, the one only Mediator, Lawgiver, and Head of his people?
Can it be presumptuous, then, to suppose that the great majority in the Protestant churches are in error in holding that this antagonism is to terminate without any further visible personal manifestations of Jehovah, the Messenger incarnate; that the usurping Adversary, whose domination over the race prior to the deluge was checked by that catastrophe only till fitting subjects of his delusions reäppeared, and whose sway over the Pagan, Mohammedan and Roman world has, with occasional change of forms and names, continued substantially intact, is to be vanquished and driven from the scene solely by moral and spiritual influence; that the system of idolatry which has, from the call of Abraham to the present hour, subjected most of the race to all the evils and miseries of sin which are possible to human beings in the present life; which has been the organized medium and embodiment of rebellion against their rightful Sovereign, of denial of his claims, and of studied provocation and affront; and which has withstood so many public and visible shocks and terrors of his wrath and power, is at length to yield and quietly disappear without any further visible demonstrations of his supremacy, or public vindications of his righteousness?
Is there any thing more unlikely in the supposition that a misconstruction of the prophecies relating to the period and objects of the second advent should prevail and be pertinaciously adhered to by many, than in the historical fact that the Jews and Jewish doctors misconstrued those prophecies relating to the period and objects of the first advent, which, to the faithful in the Gentile Church, have ever appeared unmistakably plain and definitive?
If such misconstruction and error do not prevail with the generality of Protestants, it is the first time in the history of the world that the multitude, in opposition to the few on such a question, have held the true meaning of the Scriptures. If they do prevail, they will assuredly be renounced at least by the true worshippers. Their teachers and guides will cease to be of those who regard the Old Testament as a shadowy myth, all figurative with reference to the future, all obsolete in relation to the past--creation resolved into primordial elements and physical laws, or superseded by the chronology of sediment and fossil bones--and miracles explained away as inconsistent with rationalism and with the course of nature. On the other hand, the descendants of Israel will recognize the Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth; the veil which, on their reading of Moses, is on their hearts, will be taken away, and the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, will be reërected; and Jesus the Messiah, Adonai, Jehovah the Messenger, will come and reign as Priest and King upon his throne for ever and ever.
In their defection to idolatry, the Messiah, the Messenger Jehovah, became an offense to Israel. They ceased to seek salvation, righteousness, justification by faith in him, and trusted to the works of the law. They stumbled at him as a stumbling-stone and rock of offense. But have they so stumbled and fallen as to be utterly cut off? Far be it! Rather, through their fall salvation came to the Gentiles. And if their Fall was followed and counteracted by such benefits, what shall their recovery be but life from the dead? If on their stock, decayed and rejected through unbelief, the Gentiles as a wild olive were engrafted, God is able to engraft them again into their own olive tree. If blindness of heart hath befallen Israel, it is only till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and then all Israel will be saved. "As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for the Gentiles' sake; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as in times past [before the Messiah came] the Gentiles believed not, but on his coming obtained mercy because of the unbelief of Israel; so Israel now continues disobedient to the mercy shown to the Gentiles, that through their mercy Israel also may obtain mercy; that God may have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Romans xi.
Behold then, descendants of Israel, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world! Behold in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah whom your fathers crucified and pierced! Look to the Messenger Jehovah, who, when the race in their primeval representative fell from the estate wherein they were created, yielding to the will of the great Adversary, renouncing their allegiance to God, and becoming heirs of his wrath and condemnation, took their place as their representative and substitute, entered the lists as their champion, assumed the responsibility of encountering, counteracting, and finally subduing, vanquishing, and triumphing over their destroyer, and by suffering in their stead, of rescuing, sanctifying, and raising from the dead all who by faith receive, trust, love, and obey him; the God-man, the only Mediator, to whom, as Prophet, Priest, and King of Zion, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, every knee must bow, and every tongue confess that He is Jehovah.
NOTE A--Relating to the Exposition of the Apocalypse, by D. N. Lord.
Instead of tracing the illustrations thus furnished, or making the requisite citations, the writer can barely refer to them, and express, as far as may be fitting, his opinion of that work as an exposition, upon clear and indubitable principles, of a portion of the sacred oracles previously sealed and unintelligible, to the opening of which no clew had been discovered, and towards a reliable or satisfactory explanation of which, no progress had been made. And he cannot forbear to speak of it, even at the hazard of being supposed to have a motive inferior to that of impartial admiration of the work, as opening to the view a clear vision of the inner sanctuary, and vividly portraying the scenes, the agencies, and the events of the last great act of the drama begun in Eden; and as surpassing all other efforts towards an exposition of any portion of the prophetic oracles, in the scriptural authority of its principles, the loftiness and grandeur of its conceptions, the adequacy of its representations of the Person, titles, offices, prerogatives, agency, purposes, dominion and glory of Jehovah the Incarnate Word; the luminousness of its descriptions, the relevancy of its proofs and illustrations, the clearness and brevity of its style, the absence of every thing not pertinent, and the exhibition of every thing requisite to an exposition of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him to show unto his servants."
Such being the character of the work, it can occasion no surprise to those who consider the reigning notions and prejudices of the times concerning the import of some of the symbols, that it should be neglected by the many. It overturns prevailing theories and fixed opinions. Had it, with no settled rules of interpretation, followed the beaten track, in conformity with those theories and opinions; its accurate scholarship, its thorough acquaintance with preceding authors, with the records, institutions, import, and bearings of the earlier dispensations, with ancient and modern history, with the Greek and Latin Fathers, and with collateral branches of literature and sources of illustration, would have insured it the ready suffrage of the learned and the public.
But it is from beginning to end an innovation. Instead of being an echo of prior expositions, it is wholly original. Instead of being a version of the conjectures and fancies of others, without settled and uniform principles of exposition, it differs from them very much as astronomy differs from astrology. It is based upon axioms and rules which are well defined, and of certain and universal application to the subjects to which they relate. It lays down what no prior exposition ever attempted, "The Laws of Symbolic Representation;" and by a rigid and consistent adherence to those laws, as by a process of inductive demonstration, brings out intelligibly to the reader the meaning of the successive symbols: in each instance illustrating and confirming the exposition by references to history, and contrasting it with the views advanced by preceding writers. These laws of symbolic representation are neither less evidently founded in the nature of that mode of revelation, nor less essential as a clew to its meaning, than are the common rules of grammar in relation to ordinary literal language; and they are accordingly sanctioned, and their reality and truthfulness are demonstrated by numerous references to inspired expositions of prophetic symbols.
A revelation by symbol is not a statement or description in words of what is foreshown, but a representative exhibition in a visible form; as for example of a living agent, with certain known natural characteristics, and certain official insignia or other accompaniments, between which agent, so depicted in its appropriate attitude and sphere of action, and the agent or class of agents of a different nature and sphere of action which is represented and foreshown, there are such resemblances and analogies as to render the first an expressive and fitting representative of the other. Thus the beast described Rev. xiii. as emerging from the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the names of blasphemy; his body being like a leopard, his feet like those of a bear, and his mouth as that of a lion; is described chap. xvii. as representing by its seven heads, seven kings, dynasties, or forms of executive power in the Roman Empire prior to its division; and by its ten horns ten kings which as yet had received no kingdom; the ten kings, namely, between whom the western empire was to be divided, and who, with the relentless ferocity of lions, bears and leopards, were by persecution and otherwise to make war with the Lamb. So in the vision of Daniel, chap. viii., the ram with two horns is declared to represent the Kings of Media and Persia; and the goat with one horn, the King of Grecia.
These examples illustrate the laws of symbolic representation with reference to one class of symbols; and with respect to those symbols of which there is no inspired explanation, the expositor, under the control and guidance of those laws, is liable to no mistake, unless it be in his inadequate discernment of analogies and erroneous selection of agents, events, or other phenomena, instead of those intended to be foreshown, and in which congruity with the characteristics and adjuncts of the symbol, harmony with other Scriptures and predictions, and correspondence with historical events and testimonies are confidently to be expected.
If the reader can imagine any thing of the awe and wonder which overwhelmed the apostle in his visions, when, in his station on the apocalyptic earth or in the heavenly sanctuary, he beheld the glorified Person of his Lord in the effulgence of his Deity, seated on a throne, from which, as at Sinai, proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices, and around which were exhibited the representative and triumphant witnesses and trophies of his redemptive work; and beheld that Person symbolizing himself in his aspect and relations as incarnate, "a Lamb, standing as slain;" and saw, as on the revolving canvas of a panorama, when the seals were opened, the symbolic forms emerging into view one after another, each by its representative character revealing, as in cipher, the agents and events of its future appropriate and peculiar department; and witnessed the phenomena of revolutions, tempests, earthquakes, darkness, fire and blood, foreshown under the sounding of the trumpets; and successively the slaughter and resurrection of the witnesses, the war of Michael and the Dragon, the emergence of the ten-horned wild beast, the rise and career of the two-horned wild beast and false prophet, the harvest and vintage of the earth, the pouring out upon the earth of the plagues of the seven vials of the wrath of God, the fall and destruction of great Babylon, and the ensuing scenes of wonder and glory, retribution and judgment, thanksgiving and triumph, he may in some degree conceive the effect of converting the enigmatical portraitures of this panorama into intelligible literal language, assigning each to its relative and historical position, and reflecting on the version the light of earlier revelations, that of ecclesiastical and secular history, and in a large degree, in respect to the past, that of unmistakable events.
It is in respect to the result, as compared with that of preceding efforts, like Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, compared with the fruitless endeavors of the magicians, astrologers, and Chaldeans of Babylon; or like the finally successful effort to read the hieroglyphics of Egypt, compared with the fruitless attempts, bewildering theories, and abortive labors of preceding ages.
Had this work been published at some transition-period, when the human mind was freeing itself from erroneous and long-cherished opinions; at the revival of learning in Europe, when there were Luthers and Calvins to welcome it; or in England, when there were Latimers and Ridleys, Boyles and Newtons, or Owens and Howes; or in this country at the period of Edwards, it would have superseded and prevented the expositions to which it is opposed, or else it would have been answered in the same way as were the doctrines of Galileo. Such men under their circumstances would not have been content to say, as many at present seem to be: "Though we consider the Apocalypse a part of the inspired Word of God, and though it evidently relates to the future of the Church, the conduct of the redeemed and the destruction of their enemies, and above all to the crowning, ultimate and eternal manifestation of the Person, prerogatives, supremacy, prophetical and sacerdotal works, and regal majesty, glory, triumph and reign of Jesus Christ; yet we neither understand it, nor believe it will be understood in advance of its issues; and therefore are not disposed to examine anything new upon the subject."
But the transition now going on is not against, but in favor of ancient and erroneous opinions. It is retrograde towards Pelagianism, Pantheism, Neology, Romanism, and among the best, to the omnivorous infection of infidel Germanism. The partisans of these errors desire no lights but such as are reflected from the satellites of their respective systems. In those exclusive and dubious lights, each is secure alike against the arguments and examples of every other. They can controvert the doctrines of Scripture and those of each other upon all disputed points, without the slightest danger of extorting concessions or producing conviction; for no two of them see the same thing by the same light. All hope and expectation of defeating or silencing any party by the arguments or Scripture citations or interpretations of another, or of dislodging cherished and fixed opinions by any means short of a universal deluge, or an annihilation like that of the Egyptians by the Red Sea, or that of Sodom and Gomorrha by fire, is given up. And so long as they nominally agree in respect to certain future issues, towards which they think the onward course of things in the physical, intellectual, scientific, mechanical, social and religious world is wafting them, their theories and their relative positions will allow them fearlessly to float down with the current, without having in advance even the light of a moon. There is a Millennium in prospect; a vast, undefinable Mediterranean of something better than the present, into which all the turbid streams of humanity are tending, and towards which the preaching of the gospel to all nations is but a tributary.
The aspect of things, accordingly, is much like that in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing; as if Satan were already bound, and no deluge of wrath or terrors of retribution were impending; and as if with science and art, ancient relics and now inventions, gold mines and traffic, steam and electricity, as pioneers, the Ethiopian were about to change his skin, and the leopard his spots, the wolf to lie down with the lamb, and the lion to eat straw like the ox. The more startling the events of Providence, the shattering of political fabrics, the excision and restoration of dynasties, the revival of Popish arrogations and intolerance, the pitched battle of despotism against liberty, the more sure they are to be construed as immediate signals of the universal prevalence and triumph of human hopes. The purple and scarlet robes of the Babylonish Sorceress are seemingly changed to vestal whiteness, as gazed at through the spectrum of discolored glass, or seen in the sepulchral, bewildering, superstitious twilight of Baalistic tapers; while the murmurings of unearthly music, the chantings and mutterings of unintelligible words, and the spell of imputed and pretended mysteries, subdue the victim to whatever the spiritual operator may prescribe or denounce. The nations in the four quarters of the globe seem to many to be about to renounce their idolatries, and to be released without a struggle on the part of Satan, who has held them in bondage hitherto, and to be arranging to assume white robes and take their stations on the glass-like expanse before the throne. The partisans of such views neither realize nor believe that there is any thing to the contrary revealed in Scripture; or if there is, it is so concealed in symbol and figure as to preclude its being understood till all is over. And accordingly, like the Pharisees of old, who scrupulously paid tithes of mint and all manner of herbs, and omitted the weightier matters of practical righteousness, faith, and the love of God, they resolve religion into outward action, the love of God into eclectic sympathy with his creatures, and faith into their theory of particular duties.
Formerly, in religious controversy, there was something positive on one side, against which an opposing negative was asserted. In the great controversy recorded in the Bible, the supremacy of Jehovah and the authority of his Word were explicitly and constantly affirmed by one party, and as directly and perseveringly denied by the other; and the two parties were therefore broadly and unmistakably distinguished. But at present the case is widely different. No active partisan, theological or scientific, now denies the existence of a Supreme Being, or professes to disbelieve the Scriptures. All claim to be believers in God and in the Bible. What they differ about is as to what kind of Being that is whom they call God; whether personality is one of his attributes, and what works and purposes are to be ascribed to him: and as to what the Scriptures teach, how they are to be understood; whether they are inspired or not; whether they are all typical, or what portion or whether the whole of them is in some way figurative; whether miracles were ever wrought; whether the Mosaic account of the creation is to be understood literally, and the like. And if there is at this moment, in the compass of the world, or in the Protestant portion of it, one comprehensive error, conspicuous above all others, it is that of inadequate, partial, defective apprehensions, recognitions, and acknowledgments of what the Scriptures reveal concerning the Person, prerogatives, offices, works, dominion, triumph and glory of the Messiah, and concerning his yet unended conflict with the Arch-apostate.
NOTE B--The primary ground of Mediation, &c.
The primary ground or reason of that mediation, in the economy of the universe, which is affirmed of the one Mediator in all the relations of God to the World, is the infinite difference between the Deity and creatures in nature, attributes, and mode of existence and action. The relations implied in the existence and agency of creatures are such as cannot be conceived to subsist between beings so diverse in all respects as the infinite and finite, except through an intermediate agent, in the constitution of whose person and office the opposite extremes are united. For in creating, upholding, and governing finite beings, the agency of the Creator and Ruler connects itself with the conditions and relations of time and space; the conditions and relations of matter; of succession of thought, feeling, and action; of that which is external, visible, limited; that which begins and ends.
It may therefore be said, that in the nature of things such mediation, the interposition of such an official Person, is necessary; and accordingly the agency of the Mediator in those relations is presupposed, assumed, or expressly recognized, throughout the Scriptures.
In this system, the moral government which is administered by the Mediator is founded on the perfections, prerogatives and rights of the Deity as manifested by him in the works of creation, providence and grace, and applies to creatures in the relations which they sustain to him.
The whole is therefore a system of manifestation; on his part of the perfections and rights of the Deity, and on theirs of holiness and happiness, or of sin and misery, in the relations in which they exist. In the progress of this system, all intelligent creatures will be instructed in all that is knowable by them concerning the Deity, and all that respects themselves, and the nature, tendency, and consequences of holiness on the one hand, and of apostasy and wickedness on the other.
The Deity thus made known will, by the holy, the unfallen and redeemed, be eternally reverenced, supremely loved, and exclusively worshipped and obeyed; his rights and prerogatives will be acknowledged, and his perfections and the boundless emanations of his goodness be regarded with ceaseless, adoring, grateful rapture and delight.
In the administration of his moral government over apostate creatures, and in their future punishment, the Mediator's sceptre is a sceptre of perfect righteousness.
The course of things eventually to be realized on earth will be such as would have taken place from the beginning, had no apostasy occurred. The apostasy and the curse on man and the earth will be overcome. The antagonism between the Mediator and the Adversary will cease. The earth, freed from the curse and from all enemies, renovated, restored to its original beauty, will be the perpetual scene of holiness and happiness.
Under the past and present dispensations, the object has been to do away the consequences of the fall of the first Adam as head of the race. When the second Adam, ("the Lord from heaven,") as head of his elect people, shall have accomplished this at his second advent, and destroyed all enemies, he will be thenceforth _the head of the race_ for ever.
The apostasy was a violation of preëxisting relations between the Creator and creatures. The victory gained by Satan over the first Adam as head of his race made him as much master of that Adam and his descendants as he was of the angels who joined him in apostasy. By that victory he had the power of death. Doubtless it was his object to destroy, as to the purposes and mode of existence for which they were created, the race with which, by the constitution of his official Person, the Mediator was connected; and thereby to defeat him.
The victory of the second Adam over Satan, utterly despoils him of all he had taken from the first Adam, destroys all his works, and ends in the destruction of himself and all enemies. As yet the results are but partially manifested. His victory as man--the victory of that nature in his official Person which had been overthrown in Adam--was achieved by his triumph over the direct personal temptation in the wilderness, and by his death, resurrection and ascension. The consummation of his triumph by the final overthrow and banishment of all enemies, in which his Divine attributes and prerogatives will be displayed, is yet future.
The administration of the Mediator in the government of this world, proceeds upon a definite and intelligible plan. It is one scheme, with which all agencies and events are connected, and of which the consummation is distinctly foretold. The Mediator is, from the beginning to the end, the Divine Actor and Revealer, the Alpha and Omega, first and last.
From the date of the apostasy this government relates to mankind as separated into two classes or parties, the loyal and the rebellious. The result of the first prolonged trial was the destruction of the whole race as rebellious and incorrigible, Noah and his family excepted.
On the apostasy of the renewed race, shortly after the deluge, to the impious rival system of idolatry, Abraham was called to be the head of a separated race, who, by a system of external and visible rites, institutions, teachings, services, benefits and discipline, were to be visibly--and as peculiarly dealt with, in contrast with the rest of the world--the loyal party. As such, the Mediator was personally to dwell with them and to exercise his offices, and rule them as Priest and King.
He accordingly, having brought the children of Israel into the wilderness of Sinai, entered, prior to the giving of the Law, into a formal covenant with them, as recorded in Exodus xix: "Jehovah called unto Moses out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, (for all the earth is mine;) and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Moses rehearsed these terms to the people: "And all the people answered together, and said, All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto Jehovah."
During the trial under this covenant, the other nations were governed and dealt with as in a state of total and avowed rebellion, under condemnation, and obnoxious to the demands of justice. Pursuant to this system, the nations of Canaan were first destroyed. After Egypt, Assyria was for a long time the head of the rebellious party; then Babylon, and subsequently the four empires predicted in Daniel.
All the nations and governments of that party were idolatrous. This was the leading feature in their character as apostates and rebels. And to this, by their relations to them, the Israelites.
The Messenger Jehovah, having executed judgment upon Egypt, and brought the children of Israel into the wilderness of Sinai, appeared on the top of the mount in the brightness of lightnings, and with the voice of a trumpet which shook the mountain. The people, who, after witnessing the wonders of Egypt and of the Red Sea, had exhibited a murmuring and rebellious spirit, were impressed and awed by this manifestation, while the Law of the Ten Commandments was announced. "They removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for _the_ Elohim is come _to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not_. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where _the_ Elohim was. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me Elohe of silver, neither shall ye make unto you Elohe of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings and thy peace offerings ... in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." Exod. xx.
Thus, at the outset of this trial, under the most appalling tokens of his presence, Jehovah reiterates the prohibition expressed in the first two commandments against idolatry. Among the judicial laws prescribed at the same time with the moral, there is one making idolatry a civil offense, to be punished with death. "He that sacrificeth unto any Elohim, save unto Jehovah only, he shall be utterly destroyed." Exodus xxii. 20. Again (xxiii. 13) they are enjoined to "make no mention of the name of any other Elohim;" and subsequently in the same chapter they are commanded not to bow down to the Elohim of the nations of Canaan, but to overthrow them and break down their images.
Moses having written out the moral and judicial laws thus far prescribed, the people consented to them and promised obedience; and having built an altar, and "twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel," he offered sacrifices, read the book of the covenant, and ratified it by sprinkling blood on the people. Exod. xxiv.
After this proceeding, Moses with the elders ascended the mount, where, after an extraordinary personal manifestation of Jehovah, the Elohe of Israel, the ceremonial law was prescribed. Nearly forty days having elapsed, the people, impatient at Moses' absence, instigated Aaron to make them a molten image--a golden calf. This being done under pretense that the image represented Jehovah, "they said, This is thy Elohe, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Aaron built an altar before it, and appointed "a feast to Jehovah; and upon the altar they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings." Exod. xxxii.
For this audacious treason and unbelief, about three thousand men were slain: soon after which, Jehovah made a covenant with the people, promising to drive out the Canaanites before them, and renewedly enjoining them to break their images and destroy their altars and groves. Chap. xxxiv.
The tabernacle having been erected and offerings made according to the ritual, "There came a fire out from before Jehovah, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering, ... which when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces." Leviticus ix. On this occasion two of the priests, Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, in the spirit of the Egyptian idolatry, burnt incense with strange fire, _i. e._, such as idolaters used: "And there went out fire from Jehovah and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah." Levit. x.
The constant recurrence of reproof, instruction and prediction, in the historical and Prophetic writings of the Old Testament, proceeds from the nature of that dispensation, the conduct of the people under it, and the manner of its final consummation.
The dispensation was one of outward and visible manifestation, discipline, trial, prefiguration and hope; disobedience under it was acted out visibly in idolatry and all practical abominations. Reproofs were uttered according to actual circumstances, having respect to present actual wickedness.
A leading feature of that dispensation was that of the personal, local, visible appearances and interpositions of the Mediator. The tendencies and results of the dispensation were thwarted and delayed by the idolatry and wickedness of the people. The predictions, founded in the nature and design of that visible economy, looked forward to the circumstances, agencies and results which were to fulfil, complete and vindicate the nature and original design of the economy.
Hence the humiliation and vicarious sufferings of the Mediator, and the glory of his ultimate manifestations, judgments and triumph, are the prominent topics of prophetic announcement; and the latter chiefly, as more in keeping with the analogy of the past, and as being ultimate and perfect. By the things thus predicted, the thwarted and delayed purposes and tendencies of the dispensation were to be adequately provided for, and rendered effective by the foreseen intervention of the agency and power of the Mediator in his incarnate state. The prophets accordingly pass from the circumstances which gave rise to their predictions to the circumstances and events of their fulfilment by the Mediator in his future visible manifestations.
It was, for example, provided in the Mosaic economy that the loyalty and obedience of the Israelites should have a trial under the government of the Mediator as King; as Priest and King on his throne in the tabernacle. Being thus perfectly protected and provided for, they had every facility and every inducement to be loyal and obedient. But they rebelled and rejected him as King.
At length they desired and solicited a human chieftain as king, after the manner of the surrounding nations. This was granted, and a trial made under vicegerents in the persons of David and Solomon, sitting on the throne of Jehovah, as rulers in his place, and as types of his kingly office, when he shall at the latter day visibly resume it.
The rejection of the Mediator as King, and the consequent interruption and final discontinuance of the theocratic administration, gave occasion to the mission of the prophets; the earliest of whom, Hosea, prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, about 800 years before Christ, and the latest, Malachi, about 440 B. C. Hosea flourished about 180 years after the death of Solomon. The apostasy of all the tribes to idol worship was then nearly total. The restoration from the Babylonish exile having resulted in no reformation, both Jews and Samaritans, at the close of Malachi's mission, were, like the heathen nations, left to themselves.
The prophets and true worshippers all regarded the separation of the ten tribes as an apostasy from the theocratic government, the seat of which was in the temple, and the representative vicegerent on the throne was to be in the line of David.
Elijah's taking twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, when he repaired the altar of Jehovah and offered acceptable sacrifices, showed that he considered the defection of the ten tribes as a rejection of Jehovah as Mediator. 1 Kings xviii. 31. True worship was to be offered, in conformity with the system connected with the temple.
The reformation under Hezekiah and that under Josiah also virtually included, in respect to religion, a reunion of all the tribes. There could be no return to Jehovah, but by returning to the temple worship, where He as Mediator presided. The separation of the ten tribes was equally a religious and a civil apostasy; for Jehovah, as Priest and King on his throne, was at once the head of the religious and civil system. Hence the political revolt and the institution of a rival and hostile civil government, was necessarily connected with the institution of a rival and hostile religious system. A political revolt necessarily involved a religious one; and to maintain their political power in opposition to that of the line of David, Jeroboam and his successors found it necessary to render the separation in respect to religion as wide as possible.
The prophets accordingly, while they speak of the chiefs of the revolted tribes as kings, in conformity with popular usage, never recognize them as such of right.
To effect an entire religious apostasy as a means of sustaining the political revolt, (1 Kings xii.) Jeroboam instituted the golden calves, under pretense of their being symbols, representative of the Jehovah, and in place of the Shekina. The Levites appear to have refused to concur in the imposture thus attempted, and being exiled as likely to hinder its success. Priests to officiate in this apostate worship were selected from the lowest of the people. So offensive and intolerable indeed to the true worshippers was this apostasy, "that the priests, and the Levites that were in all Israel ... came to Judah and Jerusalem.... And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek Jehovah, the Elohe of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Jehovah, the Elohe of their fathers." 2 Chron. xi. 13-16. Jeroboam, having cast off the Levites, "ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made." Ibid.
The government of the ten tribes being founded in a total apostasy, and including a rival and hostile system of religion, is treated accordingly by the prophets as a rebellion. As a rebellion, it could not dissolve the relation previously established, by solemn covenants, between Jehovah, as Priest and King on his throne in the tabernacle, and the people of Israel. That relation could be dissolved or discontinued on his part, only by such events as afterwards took place in their rejection and exile. In the meantime, prophets were sent to them, and various dispensations of judgment and mercy were employed to reclaim them from their idolatry and wickedness.
Such is the point of view in which the Israelites and their kings are to be regarded in considering the language and predictions of the prophets. Viewed in this light, the statements respecting their apostate condition, the aggravations of their wickedness, the judgments inflicted on them, their dispersion, and the predictions concerning their future restoration under one head, are for the most part rendered plain; while the fact that they revolted from the Theocracy, the system of local, personal, visible manifestation of the Mediator as Priest and King, is the manifest ground of the predictions that, in due time, what had been thwarted and delayed by their wickedness will be resumed and carried into effect by a regathering of them under the Mediator as King, in his incarnate state and visible reign.
All obvious punctuation errors have been corrected. Pg 19, the reference 'Isaiah l. 3, 5' has been changed to 'Isaiah xl. 3, 5' Pg 26, 'burnt-offering' was changed to 'burnt offering.' Pg 42, 'covenent' was changed to 'covenant.' Pg 56, 'Padanaram' was changed to 'Padan-aram.' Pg 67, 'Pharoah' was changed to 'Pharaoh.' Pg 87, 'ill desert' was changed to 'ill-desert.' Pg 97, 'El Shadai' was changed to 'El-Shadai.' Pg 119, 'meditorial' was changed to 'mediatorial.' Pg 121, 'no' was changed to 'not.' Pg 132, missing quotation mark was placed before the word 'Adonai.' Pg 132, missing quotation mark was placed at the end of this sentence: "And Moses spake _before_ Jehovah...." Pg 144, 'preceeding' was changed to 'preceding.' Pg 166, removed final closing single quote. Pg 172, 'coeval' was changed to 'coëval.' pg 190, 'difficult' was changed to 'difficulty.' Pg 244, 'coeval' was changed to 'coëval.' Pg 267, 'up on' was changed to 'upon.' Pg 297, missing opening quotation mark was added before, "These are the generations..." Pg 320, 'exscision' was changed to 'excision.' Pg 327, 'Israelities' was changed to 'Israelites.'
The variant spellings, 'El-Shadai' and 'El-Shaddai,' have been retained.
All instances of 'i. e.' have been italicised to conform to the majority of instances.
The original book omitted a paragraph on page 21 and was added back to the book as an appendix. This paragraph has been added back to the text in the place that it was originally intended to be placed. The paragraph starts as follows, '"Sometimes the same Divine appearance which at one time is called Melach Jehovah...."' This change has also been reflected in the table of contents.
The titles of the end notes have been changed to match the table of contents and because the original titles referenced page numbers from the book that did not appear to be accurate.