Imágenes de páginas

was allowed on the other six. The last day is called by John "the great day of the feast;' but the custom of so designating it appears to have arisen from the many additional observances which had in the course of time become attached to it, particularly on that day, and not on account of any superiority given to it in appointing the institution.

The manner of keeping it was by the people gathering branches of various trees, and constructing tents with them, in which they dwelt during the eight days the feast continued.

For considering this institution as endowed with a typical character there is no clear warrant in the Scriptures; but we find two passages, in which it is alluded to in such a way as to show that it had a further design than that for which it was immediately commanded. The first of these that we notice is, John vii. 37, where the Evangelist says, that "on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink! He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” And he adds: “But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive." And all this, it is said, took place just when the water used on the occasion, and which had been brought from the pool of Siloam, was poured out before the altar.

Now it is well known that the influences of the Holy Spirit were often in the Old Testament spoken of under the figure of water; and as Christ was at this time about to direct the

attention of the people to that blessed effusion which was soon to be imparted to the church, through his death, resurrection, and ascension, it is possible that he might here only intend that the water that was now poured out was a fit emblem of the blessing he was about to give, just as where he took advantage of passing events, or of things by which he was surrounded, on other occasions, to direct attention to himself. When it is considered, however, that this took place at the end of an important feast, and in immediate connection with a ceremony of that feast-for which no good reason can be given, except it be admitted to have been designed to prefigure something future it will appear perfectly reasonable to conclude that it was typical in its character.

The other place in which allusion is made to this institution is Zechariah xiv. The passage is part of a prophecy relating to the success and extension of the gospel among the Gentiles in the last days. Yet it is said of them that they shall go up to Jerusalem to keep the feast of tabernacles. That this will literally be the case, it would be absurd to suppose ; for though it should be admitted that the chapter warrants the expectation of the Jews returning to their own land, prior to the second appearance of Christ, yet it would be contrary to the clear declarations of the Scripture to suppose that Judaism would be embraced by the Gentiles, and again established, even there. It must, therefore, be a figurative sense in which the words are to be taken; and the meaning seems to be that converts from all nations, in the days

of the Messiah, shall do in the Gospel Church

—the Spiritual Jerusalem, that which was typified by what the Jews did literally in Jerusalem of old. They shall keep the feast of tabernacles. Taking these two portions of Scripture, then, as showing the ultimate design of the feast, and as claiming for it a typical character, we now proceed to consider what was prefigured by it. It may be viewed as setting forth three things:

I. The incarnation of Jesus Christ, who it is thought), in allusion to this very festival, is said to have been “made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us ;"* and this is adverted to by an Apostle as constituting one of the principal features of the gospel economy: “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.”* A tabernacle was a slight, slender erection-so the human nature of Christ was distinguished,

1. By its frailty.

That he possessed a real body, made of the same flesh and blood as our own, is evident, from the many proofs he gave of it during his continuance on the earth, both before and after his resurrection. He was sustained by the same means as his Apostles and those with whom he condescended to hold intercourse-was liable to the same results from labour and physical exertion, and needed, as others, to recruit his strength when exhausted. Hence we read of his eating and drinking-of his being wearied with his journey, I and of his taking refreshment * John i, 14.

† 1 Tim. iii. 16. John iv. 6.


by sleep. This, too, is clearly taught us in the Scriptures, which declare that, “ forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren."* Yea, he himself declared, for the satisfaction of his disciples, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”+

2. Though the humanity of Christ was real, it was distinct from his Deity, and, like the tabernacle in which the Jews dwelt, formed no part of Divinity—the inhabitant residing within.

It is true we have in John the expressions, “ The Word was made flesh," but this, of course, does not mean that Deity became humanity, for that was impossible ; neither does it imply that Jesus, prior to his coming into the world, was God, only in such a sense as a creature might be called; for though the Apostle is speaking of the everlasting Word, yet he claims for him not only an eternal residence with the Father, but an equality in nature, and identifies one with the other. It is true the word rendered made often signifies in the Scriptures to constitute ; yet that is not the sense which properly belongs to it here; but it rather means to become, and seems to have reference to the form which anything may assume or receive, and not to its creation. It was the same eternal co-equal Son of God who had existed from eternity with the Father, that took our nature into so close a union with his own as to constitute one person for all

* Heb. ii. 14, 17. † Luke xxiv. 39.

the purposes of redemption. The everlasting Word properly became one of us, and the infinite person, who thus humbled himself, was God incarnate.

The feast of tabernacles may be considered as typifying the incarnation of Christ,

3. In the short time that his body was assumed.

This festival was of longer continuance than many, or most, of the other feasts of the Jews; but still, compared with the whole year, it was of a very transitory nature, and a tabernacle is often spoken of as emblematical of shortness of duration and feebleness. So, taking the whole of our Lord's life and ministry to be included in his tabernacling amongst men, yet compared with the length of the lives of men generally, it was short, and in that sense he himself often speaks of it.

It is not forgotten that our Lord assumed a body again after his resurrection, which we have unquestionable proof was identical with that which had been put to death upon the cross, now to be possessed by him for ever; but as in some important respects the body he now appears in differs from that which he had on earth, it is not to the former so much that the allusion is made, when it is said he tabernacled with us, as to the latter.

II. Another thing which the feast of tabernacles may be considered as typifying, was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and there are two particulars in which it did this :

1. It showed its copiousness.
In appointing the typical representations with

« AnteriorContinuar »