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purpose was primarily fulfilled when Christ's humanity was divinely begotten.
In the prediction noted, Psalm Ixxxix. 27, Christ's Sonship was a relation then future. "I will make him first-born." "He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father." By many titles the Mediator was known in the Old Testament; but never by the title of Son, as being then actually the Son of God. Christ was known as the Seed of the woman (who was to come) the Seed of Abraham, Shiloh, the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, the Star to arise, the Prophet to be raised up, the Lord's Anointed, Immanuel, or God with us, the Messiah, the Messenger of the covenant, the An£el, the Angel of God's presence, the Ancient of days, the Branch, the Sun of righteousness, the Desire of all nations, the chief corner Stone, Elect, Precious, God's Servant, Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, a Leader and Commander of his people, a Covenant, Michael, the Lord, Jehovah, the Jehovah of hosts, the Redeemer, the Holy One, a Refuge, a Rod from the stem of Jesse, I Am, I Am that I Am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of your fathers.—These last mentioned titles of God, the Angel of the Lord, in the burning bush, assumed, as will be noted in a future section. Some of these titles indicated what the Mediator then was; the infinite, eternal God: And others, what he should be demonstrated to be, when he should be manifest in the flesh, and known as the Son of God. But among all his many titles, he was never reprejented, as then actually the Son of God in heaven. Christ was then no more actually the Son of God, than he was actually the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of David, the Branch, or any other name, fulfilled only when he appeared in the flesh.
Two texts, which have been supposed by some to speak of Christ, as being then the Son of God, I think have been misapplied. Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, relative to the persons, whom he beheJd in his fiery furnace. that the form of the fourth was like unto the Son of God. But who could this heathen idolater mean, by the Son of God? He must have meant, some son of some god. What did he know of the God of Israel ? or of the expected Messiah? He believed in heathen gods and goddesses; and in their propagation of their offspring. And his guilty conscience and frightened imagination suggested to him, that this miraculous deliverer of the victims of his impious rage, must be a son of a god ; probably of the God of Israel. But we cannot learn from this confession of a heathen, who then had his vassal sub'ects convened before him to worship a golden god ;— and had just tauntingly said to them, Who is that god, that shall deliver you out of my hands ? that the Messiah of the Jews was known, as being then actually the Son of God; and so familiarly known too, as that this idolater in a heathen laud, would recognize him at first sight, and so readily speak of him under this title. To me this is utterly incredible.
In Prov. xxx. 4, we read, "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name? Or what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" Some may imagine the son here means the Son of God?
ut I think this is not the case. The subject of
e.. inquiry, in this text, is not God, but man. What man can you imagine has doue'these things? This appears evident from the words of Christ, John iii. 13, where, in allusion to this text, he says, " No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven." And as the subject of inquiry, in that text, is a man; so the son spoken of must be the son of the same man. Accordingly, an eminent expositor gives this paraphrase upon the passage: "If thou think there be any such man, who can do these things, 1 challenge thee to produce his name. Or it'he be long since dead, and gone out of the world, produce the name of any of his posterity, who can assure us that their progenitor was such a person." But if the Son in this passage mean Christ, he was then a Son only by prolepsis, as he was the son of David; because he was to appear in this character.
In Hosea xi. 1, we read, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him> and called my Son out of Egypt." So far as this relates to Christ. and is applied to him by the evangelist, "Out of Egypt have I called my Son," it is a prolepsis; or a previous calling of Christ, God's Son, because he was to be known as the Son of God, when the passage, as it related to Christ, should be fulfilled, by his actuafly coming from Egypt. But the text in Hosea, to which the evangelist alludes^ conveys no idea, that the Messiah in heaven, when the words were spoken, was God's Son. And the alttision of the evangelist to the words, above noted, does not convey such an idea. The word son there literally relates to Israel, who was God's son, his first-born ;' see Exodus iv. 22, 23.
The above remark may suggest the true exposition of the only three remaining texts, in the ($ld Testament, in which the Mediator may bj
any be supposed to be spoken of, as the Son of. God. These three relate immediately to Gospel times, when Christ was to be known as the Son of God. Isai. ix. 6, "For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder."—Surely this related to the time when Christ should be manifested in the flesh. And if the Son, in this text. mean Son of God, it seems to me so far from indicating, that he, in his divine nature then in heaven, was literally the iJon of God, that it clearly indicates, that he was not to be known as really the Son of God, till he was the "Child born." "Unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given." Ezek. xxi. 10, predicting the destruction of the Jews first by the king of Babylon, but ultimately by God's great and sharp sword, the Romans, it is said, "It contemneth the rod of my son as every tree." I apprehend the term son here has no relation to Christ. but to the Jews. Israel was called God's son; Exodus iv. 22, 23; ".Thus shalt thou say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born. And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me. And if thou refuse to let him go, behold I will slay thy son, even thy first-born." It is in immediate allusion to this passage, that we read in the fore.. cited passage in Hosea, " When Israel was a child, then 1 loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." And it is natural to suppose the passage under consideration, "' It contemneth the rod of my son as every tree," is an allusion to the same text, and means the Jews. The translators understood it so; and hence wrote the word son without a capital. But should any say, it may mean Christ: I answer; It may typically, and by a prolepsis. Christ was known as the Son of God, when the
text was fulfilled in. the destruction of the Jews by God's sword, the Romans. And both the Jews and the Romans did, at that time, contemn Christ.
The only remaining text in the Old Testament, where Christ is spoken of as a Son, is most evidently a prolepsis; speaking of him as Son, because he would be known, as the Son of Godr when that prophecy should be fulfilled. This is in the second Psalm. This Psalm is a prediction of Christ's coming in the flesh, and of gospel times. The apostle applies the beginning of the Psalm to the raging of the enemies of Christ under the Gospel. Acts.iv. 25, "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hath said, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things. The kings of the earth stood up, and their rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ." He proceeds to note the conduct of Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the people of Israel, in their treatment of Christ, as forming a fulfilment of the passage.' The Psalmist proceeds to predict the impious language of the enemies of Christ, both of the infidel Jews, and of the atheistical Antichrist of the last days; to predict the extent of Christ's kingdom, to the uttermost parts of the earth; (an event never fulfilled under the Old Testament) and to predict Christ's dashing his enemies to pieces with a rod of iron; first the Jews, and then the antichristian nations, as we may conceive; upon which the' nations, at that period of judgments, are warned, and exhorted to "serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling; kiss the Son; lest he be angry, and ye perish."—The whole was a prediction of events under the Gospel, when Christ is to be known, as the Son of God. He is in this passage called the