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It is evident, that scarcely any of these things which have been foretold by the prophets, were accomplished on the return of the Jews from the captivity in Babylon; for, since that time,“ his kindness has departed from, and his covenant of peace has been removed,” for nearly eighteen hundred years ; " violence has been heard in their land, and wasting and destruction within their borders," and their land has been made a desolate;" the days of wrath, of mourning, and of weeping, have been long upon them; agreeable to the prediction of our Lord, their “sun has been darkened, and their moon has not given her light; their sanctuary and tabernacle has been consumed," and they have been “a prey to the heathen;" they have long since ceased to be “ his people," and he to be their God, agreeable to the terms of the new covenant.
Neither can we, with propriety, confine these promises to the small remnant which embraced the gospel in the apostolic age; for they were never “ gathered out of all lands," nor did they " inherit the land forever;" but were banished thence, as well as the unbelieving Jews, by Hadrian ; they cannot, with any propriety of speech, be styled “the house of Israel," the “whole house of Israel." Nothing indeed, seems more unlikely, than at the time of their rejection, the casting them off, the breaking off the branches, the leaving them under spiritual slumber, the taking the kingdom from them, and casting them into utter darkness, the cutting them down as the barren fig-tree, the exclusion of them from the gospel supper, should be the time of the completion of these glorious promises ; and that this sense cannot accord with the apostle Paul, in the eleventh chapter of his epistle to the Romans.
Neither can these prophecies and promises be applied to the believing Gentiles; for surely they could not be “a prey to the heathen,” or “ bear their shame," or be the people "whom God had led into captivity," and afterwards “gathered into their own land," and so planted them, as never to be plucked up again; the promise could not be made, that they should “suck the breasts, and eat the riches of the Gentiles."
These passages then, and many others, with which the prophets abound, have never received their full accomplishment; they, consequently, remain to be fulfilled. And to what do they relate, but to the conversion of the Israelites, to the true faith of the gospel, as declared by St. Paul, in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans? This chapter unlocks the prophecies, and fully declares the conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith in the latter days. Then the “Gentiles shall come to their light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising; and nations that have not known them, shall run unto them, because God.hath glorified them.”—“ Then,” says God, " I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come to see my glory;" Isa. lv., 5 ; lxvi., 18, 22. Then “all nations shall turn and fear the Lord truly," says Tobit. And this is the time, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, of
which St. Paul speaks, in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans.
II. We shall now proceed to show that the prophets, Isaiah and Ezekiel, have foretold the general conversion of the natural seed of Abraham to the Christian faith, under the figure of their restoration to their own land; and their practising the Christian worship, under the idea of their worshipping God in Canaan, according to the purity of the Mosaic ritual; and their happiness in their converted state, under the emblems of their employments and enjoy. ments in the earthly country; and that this description of the convertion of Abraham's natural seed to the Christian faith, answers to the millennium of St. John, who uses the very words by which these prophets had foretold this glorious conversion of the dispersed of Israel to the faith of the gospel.
1. St. John speaks of the revivification of the church of the primitive martyrs who suffered for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God." And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years ;" Rev. xx. 4. It is not the bodies, but the souls of them that were beheaded, who are said to live again. The word psuche, here rendered soul, occurs six times in this book, this place excepted; and in all these places it signifies, either the soul in separation, or distinction from the body, or the living soul ; for the souls under the altar,” not only “cry with a loud voice," but are “clothed with white robes ;" vi., 6, 10, 11; which expressions cannot be well applied to dead bodies. The ktismata echonta psuchas, are the creatures having animal souls, by which they lived ; viii., 9. In this passage, it plainly signifies their lives ; that is, the souls by which men live;" xii., 11. Here it is expressly called, e psuche zooso, the living soul; xvi., 13. It signifies the lives of men, or else the souls of men, which they did hunt or devour ; xvii., 13; as in Ezekiel xiii., 18, 20; xxii., 25. And the epithumia tes phuches, is the desire, not of the body, but of the soul ;" xviii., 14. How, then, can it be supposed that the word here employed does not mean the soul, but the dead body in contradistinction to it, which alone can be said literally to rise and live again?
The very words, anastasis and ezesan, here employed by St. John, are frequently used by the prophets to express the glorious state of the Jewish church at her conversion; and by St Paul, to signify the flourishing condition of the Gentiles at the same period. St. John says, they who enjoy this millennium, shall be “priests of God and of Christ;" 6. And the prophet Isaiah says, of the converted Jews : “ Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord, and men shall call you ministers of our God;" Ixi., 6. And of the Gentiles that come to them, “I will take of them to be priests and Levites ;" Ixvi., 21. This was the very thing promised to the Jewish nation when God entered into covenant with them, that they should be a kingdom of priests. “ And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation ;" Ex. xix., 6. The Septuagint reads this passage, a royal priesthood; and the Targum, kings and priests. This all Christians are already made. “Ye also," says St. Peter,
as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;" 1 Pet. ii., 5. And St. John says: “ And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;" i., 6; V., 10. “We are,” says Justin Martyr,“ truly priests to God;" it may, therefore, be expected men should be more eminently so, in that glorious state of the church.
2. St. John furthermore says: “ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea ;" xxi., 1. He introduces our Lord saying, “ Behold, I. make all things new;" 5. The prophet Isaiah also introduces God, thus speaking at the conversion of the Jews : “ Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth ; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind;" lxv., 17. And again, “ I have put my word in thy mouth, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people;" li., 16. And in the very words of the author of the Revelation : " Behold, I make all things new;" xliii., 18, 19. As these new heavens and new earth are to be contemporary with the conversion of the Jews, surely they must be before the Jewish nation is destroyed at the conflagration of the world; and, therefore, can only be a new heaven and a new earth, in that moral and religious sense in which Maimonides explains the phrase, when he says, " It signifies that God will place them in perpetual joy, in view of their former sorrow and anxiety ; so that the memory of their former sorrow and anxiety shall no more remain.”
It will be observed, however, that there is a peculiarity in St. John's new earth. He says, " and there shall be no more sea ;" because he had all along represented the beast as ascending out of the abyss : “ And sitting upon many waters,” which were " the people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” that had submitted to her ; xvii., 1, 8, 15. Now, as the beast was utterly destroyed, and satan was bound for a thousand years, and Gog and Magog were not to be gathered till the thousand years were ended, nor were the armies of the beast which were slain to rise again till the thousand years were past ; xix., 21 ; xx., 6. Therefore, the apostle says that in this new earth,“ there was no more sea."
3. Again, St. John says, “I heard a great voice from heaven, saying, The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself with them
shall be their God;" xxi., 3. And the prophet Ezekiel, who by the ancients was supposed to speak of the millennium, says, in like manner, “ I will make a covenant of peace with them, and will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forever. My tabernacle also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people ;” xxxvii., 26, 27. This temple and sanctuary are described at length by the prophet Ezekiel, in the forty-first and forty-fifth chapters, and they are the same with the new heaven and the new earth, and the heavenly Jerusalem, which was seen by St. John in vision. This tabernacle is to be pitched in the land described by Ezekiel, (xlvii., 13—23,) which is to be divided among the twelve tribes ; all of which we understand to be a figurative representation of the conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith, and their happy state and condition after that conversion.
4. Once more, St. John says, “ God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former things are passed away;" xxi., 4. The prophet Isaiah has given the same representation of the state of things in Jerusalem, after the former heaven and earth are passed away : “ The voice of weeping shall be heard no more in her, nor the voice of crying ;” Ixv., 19.“ The Lord will wipe away tears from all faces;" xxv., 8. “ They shall not hunger nor thirst neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them;" xlix., 10. This language of the prophet exactly corresponds with that of the Revelator : “ They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light upon them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;" vii., 16, 17.
5. Furthermore, St. John says, “ The building of the wall of the city was of jasper; and the city was of pure gold, like unto clear glass; and the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones;" xxi., 18, 19. And Isaiah says, “ I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones ;" liv., 11, 12. And Tobit also says, “ Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stones; thy walls, and towers, and battlements, with pure gold ; and the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl, carbuncle, and stones of Ophir;" kiii., 16—18.
6. Again, St. John speaks of “ The tree of life planted there," and of “ a pure river of water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb;" xxii., 1, 2. “And the prophet Zechariah speaks “ of living water going out of Jerusalem;" xiv., 8. And the prophet Ezekiel says, that “ The waters which issued out from under the threshold, became a river that could not be passed over ;" xlvii., 1–5. “ And by the river upon the bank thereof on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed ; it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine;" 12. So on either side of St. John's river, “ was there the tree of life, which bear twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month ; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations;" xxii., 2. And he who passed under the name of Esdras, says, “ They shall have the tree of life planted for an ornament of sweet savor; for unto you is paradise opened, the tree of life is planted; 2 Esd. ii., 12.
7. Once more, St. Johın says, “ There shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun ; for the Lord God giveth them light;" xxii., 5. And Isaiah declares the same thing : “ The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended;" ]x., 19. And the prophet Zechariah says, “ It shall be one day which shall be known unto the Lord, not day nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening-time it shall be light;" xiv., 7.
8. St. John, moreover, so represents the state of things following the fall of anti-christ, as plainly to inform us that he is speaking of this glorious conversion of the Jewish nation to the Christian faith, and God's marrying her again whom he had formerly divorced. For as the church of Christ is represented as the common. wealth of Israel ; Eph. ii., 12; the Israel of God; Gal. vi., 16 ; the Jerusalem which is above ; Gal. iv., 30 ; the celestial Jerusalem ; Heb. xii., 22 ; so St. John represents the new state of things in the same language, saying: “I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, come down from God out of heaven;" xxi., 2. And, again, " he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God;" 10. Now, that this great and holy city, this new Jerusalem, is the Jewish church converted to God, the characters he gives of it will not permit us to doubt. For, in the first place, he says, “ The city had no need of the sun, neither the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof;" xxi., 23. Now, God speaks of the conversion of the Jews to the gospel in the same language : “ They shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the holy one of Israel. Thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory;" Isa. Ix., 14, 18, 19. St. John says, “ The gates of this city shall not be shut at all