Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a shower, and so it is, 8c. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but how is it that ye do not discern THIS TIME?” It is not simply a cloud, but “The cloud of the latter rain(Prov. xvi. 15.) They could watchi for “the king's favour” in providence (Job xxix. 23), “ But how was it that they could not discern that time?How was it that they could not discern that “ the fulness of time was come,” when the King's self was amongst them," whose favour was as the cloud of the latter rain" (Prov. xvi. 15); who, it was declared, should “ COME Down as rain upon the mown grass(Psal. lxxii. 6), (the latter rain); as showers that water the earth?” But they were blinded in part, and will remain so, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; so no sign was given, save that of the Prophet Jonahprimarily signifying the resurrection, by which our Lord was determinately declared to be the omnipotent essential Son of God. (Rom. i. 4.) But there appears more sign. I believe the Jews themselves were signified. Jonah was cast away for a season, for refusing to preach peace to the Gentiles ; but after having past this period in “ the belly of hell” (Jonah ii. 2), and thence supplicating toward the holy temple, his preaching was blessed to the conversion of the whole of Nineveh. So Messiah pointed, as I conceive, to that period when the Jews shall say, “Come, let us return unto the Lord : for he hath torn and he will heal us; he hath smitten and he will bind us up: after two days he will revive us : IN THE THIRD DAY HE WILL RAISE US UP, and we shall live in his sight.(Hos. vi.) Now they are cast off ; but after two millenaries these dry bones shall live: then shall they see the sign of the Son of Man, as gathering clouds betoken the approach of the latter rain : he will pour out the Spirit of grace and supplication, and they will “ ask of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain." Then (goes on the Prophet Hosea) shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning(of the resurrection day; for when the Redeemer comes to Zion, their restoration shall be “ life from the dead”);

AND HE SHALL COME UNTO US AS THE RAIN, AS THE LATTER FORMER RAIN UPON THE EARTH.” (vi. 1-3.) Hence I infer, that among the " divers manners” in which the Lord has used “ similitudes by the prophets,” those numerous expressions which refer to the seasons-namely, former rain and seedtime, latter rain and first-fruits, harvest and vintage-are not simply poetical figures, but that they are MARKS BY WHICH WE MAY CHRONOLOGICALLY ARRANGE THE DISCURSIVE PROPHr.cies; and it would be as unseemly to violate the proper order, as to expect “ snow in summer” and “ rain in harvest."

.” (Prov. xxvi. 1.)

Allowing this to be the interpretation, or rather application, of the expression “ THE SEASONS,” it will not be difficult to fix

the interpretation of “ THE Times” attached to it; which evidently appears to refer to the times attached to the seasons by the ceremonial law. The three times in the year, every male was to appear before the Lord : 1. The feast of unleavened bread, or the first-fruits of barley harvest; 2. Pentecost, or the first-fruits of wheat-harvest; 3. The feast of tabernacles, or ingathering at the year's end. (Exod. xxiii. 16, 17.)

This principle will be illustrated, as well as confirmed, by tracing it in the prophecies and types fulfilled at Messiah's death, and the ushering in of the dispensation of the Spirit. Learning, in John xi. 49–51, that the High Priest had officially, though unwittingly, declared "it was he who should die”-for he said it " not of himself ; but being high priest that year

he prophesiedwhich goat was to make atonement by death (Lev. xvi. 8, 9): in the following chapter, ver. 1, it is declared, that “ Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany:in ver. 12 it mentions, the next day he went up to Jerusalem ;" which, according to the inclusive mode of calculation of the Jews, would be the 10th of Abib, the day that the Pascal Lamb was set apart. (Exod. xii. 13.) Accordingly we see, John xii. 23, that his passion then commenced. During the space of time preceding the Passover he was examined, and declared to be “a lamb without blemish and without spot;" the judge saying, “ I find in him no fault(John xviii

. 38); and the witness declaring it was “innocent blood(Matt. xxvii. 4); which was necessary-according to the Law (Lev. xxii. 20): Whatsoever hath a blemish, shall ye not offer—to constitute

an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour(Ěph. v. 2). On the evening preceding the Passover, they went over the brook Kedron, to gather a sheaf of barley for a wave-offering to the Lord (Lev. xxiii. 10): this was laid up

before the Lord till the morrow after the Sabbath, when it was waved by the priest, till which time they were not permitted to eat “bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears (ver. 14). At the same time, and near the same place, that the sheaf was gathered, Christ was apprehended ; and at the time when the priest brought forth the wave sheaf, Christ rose from the dead. On the 14th was “ Christ, our passover, sacrificed for us(1 Cor. v. 7), the day commemorative of redemption from Egyptian bondage by slaying the first-born : and now was fulfilled its typical import, in the redemption from bondage to sin by the death of the first-born amongst many brethren.On the day of the wave-offering of first-fruits, did Christ “arise from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. xv. 20), And it was necessary to wait till Pentecost (the first day of the second feast of first-fruits) “was fully come(Acts xi. 1), before those“ devout Jews of every nation

him “

[ocr errors]

them

under heaven" (ver. 5) could be converted by the preaching of Peter, they being the “ first-fruits of the Spirit ;" and therefore James, addressing (as I conceive) the same people, when he writes" to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," calls

a kind of first-fruits ” (i. 18). This application might have been carried further, so as to complete the series—such as making John's preaching the former rain and seed time," break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns :” he being the former rain,” or a teacher of righteousness," as Joel ii. 23, and marg. a seed time, of which the fruits of the Spirit appeared some time after (Acts xix. 2). In like manner, the gathering of all the nations at Jerusalem would be the harvest; the disciples going to the mountains, the gathering of the wheat into the barn ; the first destruction of Jerusalem, the destroying the chaff and stubble ; the last and total destruction, “ the treading of the wine-press of the wrath of God," completed by ploughing up the foundations and sowing with salt. 'But as in this the unities of time would be destroyed, and not, as far as I can see, fulfilled, even in an exactly answerable number of years, I have not ventured to put it down.

But it is observable, that as the typical import of the two feasts in the commencement of the ceremonial year was fulfilled during the time that dispensation was in force, so we may see that the other series of events is in the commencement of the natural year, according to the Creation; as in the restitution of all things ” the ceremonial year will be abolished, and the civil year restored.

It may be objected, that the seasons must vary so much in time (as, from the account of travellers, does now appear to be the case), that from that cause the use of this key will be very limited. But, in answer, I should say, that still, at least the consecutive order of events may be fixed, which is the chief thing. And, secondly, I would observe, that the Scripture does not allow of great variation. I grant that now, when neither the land nor the people have the special blessings of Jehovah, we must look for variableness of the seasons. The land is now given to barrenness; but in the years of ancient times, irregularity in the seasons intimated the anger of Jehovah, was used as language of terror by the prophet, and caused evident fear in the people (Jer. v. 24, 25). He “RESERVETH unto us the APPOINTED weeks of harvest,” marks a special providence in preserving the exact regularity of the seasons.

But let us trace what latitude Scripture allows. In Ezra x. 9, the former rain is falling on the 10th of Chisleu. But the Prophet Amos (iv. 7) points it out as a clear mark of Jehovah's displeasure, that the rain had been withheld within

three months of harvest ; three weeks after that period which includes also the space of time which the former rain was falling. It is the same with respect to the latter rain, as in Josh. iii. 15. 1 Chron. xii. 15 it is mentioned as invariably the case that “ Jordan overflowed all his banks all the time of harvest.' Now it could not have rained during harvest; yet it must have rained immediately before harvest, else the floods would have ceased : but, when visited by Maundrell, he could discern no sign or probability of such inundations, though so late as the 30th of March, long after the period of barley harvest. In the same way Samuel gives it as an evident sign of the Lord's displeasure that there should be rain during wheat harvest (1 Sam. xii. 17): and in Prov. xxvi. 1, we find that rain in harvest is as unseemly as snow in summer. Again; the vintage must have been over before the Feast of Tabernacles, as it was to be observed after all was gathered in (Exod. xxiii. 16; Lev. xxiii. 39).

It may also be supposed by some, that there could not be a space of four or five weeks between barley and wheat harvest; yet we find, that, just before the coming out of Egypt (Exod. ix. 31, 32), the barley was in the ear when the wheat was hidden.

If what I have said renders it sufficiently probable to induce further inquiry, this probable evidence will be much heightened by observing the very general use of the figures (and when scrutinized), without the regular order being violated; while at the same time the general use of the figure (if the principle for which I contend be correct) will make it a most important frame-work on which to arrrange the discursive prophecies.

With this object in view, I have constructed the following table (p. 43);-the first column containing the names of the months; the second shewing the number of the month according to the ecclesiastical computation, as ordered in Exod. xii. 2; the third the number of the month according to the civil computation ; but as in Scripture the reference is mostly to holy things, the ecclesiastical year is that which is commonly used. However, there is an important exception in Haggai ii. 18, 19, which is explained by the following extract from Godwyn's Moses and Aaron, lib. iii. c. 1:

“Before their coming out of Egypt, they began their year in the month of Tisri; and thus they continued it always after for civil affairs; for their date of buying, selling, their sabbatical years, year of jubilee, &c. After their coming out of Egypt, they began their year in the month Nisan, and so continued it for the computation of their greatest feasts.”

The fourth column shews the day of the month; the fifth points out the periodical changes of the seasons, as well as the

VOL, I,-NO, I,

G

appointed times of the feasts ; in the sixth are put the beforementioned instances of typical fulfilment, as an example; and in the last column, the principle is applied as a prophetic key for the arrangement of the Apocalypse, in the following manner.

Rev. vii. 2, 8, appear to be the 144,000 that are, in xiv. 4, designated the first-fruits. These I believe are sealed prior to the three and a half years of famine. But as the arguments to establish this view depend upon other considerations, and would not much illustrate the point before us, I shall not meddle with it; and indeed it is difficult to give an example in unfulfilled prophecy, because this is only one help out of many others that there may be for establishing structure.

Rev. vi. 13, is the falling of the figs. This period I have considered as intimated by Hag. ii. 18. Rev. xiv. 15 is nearly the same time of year.

Rev. xiv. 20, and xix. 15, are the vintage. That time I have not been able to fix so definitely. The grapes must be gathered in before the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. xxiii. 39; Exod. xxiii. 16). But in Lev. xxvi. 5, and Amos ix. 13, which speak of the future glory of Israel, and the destruction of Edom, the treading, it is declared, shall extend to seed time, which is two months beyond the Feast of Tabernacles. As in Isai. xlix. 26, the mighty from whom they are ransomed are made drunk with their own blood, as with new wine.

Rev. vii. 9--17, I suppose to be the Feast of Tabernacles, by the allusion to the palm-branches (Neh. viii. 15), which were used at that period; and is synchronous with xix. 1–6, the Great Hallel at the same feast. This will be when “ the tabernacle of God is with men;" when He “ in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” tabernacles amongst us; when that glory which was before visible only to Peter, James, and John (John i. 14; 2 Pet. i. 16; Matt. xvi. 28, xvii. 1, 2,4), shall be seen by every eyem(though, it may be, they which pierced him shall see him at an earlier period, and answering to the Day of Atonement): thus will its typical import be fulfilled.

The Jews suppose this is the period fixed for the appearance of Messiah, as we see in John vii. 2: The Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand ; his brethren THEREFORE said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see thee." His answer is, that his time is not yet come; namely, his time of triumphantly appearing at the Feast of Tabernacles ; but, being " made under the law," and the typical import of the Feast of Tabernacles not being fulfilled, it was necessary to appear before the Lord; he therefore did so, though “ Lot openly, but in secret.At this feast they chanted Psal. cxviii.; and we see (ver. 25) the cry, “ Hosanna, save now," was that which was uttered by the multitude bearing palms, the emblem

« AnteriorContinuar »