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in, behold he shall come, faith the Lord of Hofs. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall ftand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers fope. And he shall fit as a refiner and purifier of filver: and he fhall purifie the fons of Levi, and purge them as gold and filver, that they may offer nnto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

The Jews own that these words alfo of Malachy, fpeak of the forerunner of the Meffias (c).

But we ought to obferve in the foregoing paffages, 1. That they have a manifest relation to the time of the Meffiah's coming; fhould the Jews deny this (as indeed they unanimoufly acknowledge it) it would be an eafie matter to convince them, 1. By urging the authority of the Evangelifts, who apply thefe very paffages to the miniftry of John the Baptift. Thus we find that St. Matthew and St. Mark make a manifest allusion to these two prophecies (d): Zachary alfo, the father of John the Baptift, applyes that of Ifaiah to his fon; and his authority is the more confiderable, because he was a priest. 2. By an attentive confidering the paffages themfelves. 3. By the common confent of the Jewish church, who by a generally received and undoubted tradition, that Elijah the Tifbbite (the Septuagint in their tranflation of that place of Malachy telling us as much) was to be the forerunner of the Meffiah; and we find, that in the time of our Saviour, the multitude and his Disciples supposed the fame thing and the Jews at this day have the fame perfwafion, viz. "That Elias is to come before the appearance of the Meffiah; from which tradition of the Jews the Chriftians of old did, and many at this day do believe, that Elias fhall refume the functions of his miniftry before the laft coming of Jefus Chrift to judge the quick and the dead.

2. We may obferve, That the character of the forerunner of the Meffiah, being that which the Jews had much in their eye, it was need ful for it to be as notable and extraordinary, as was that of the Prophet Elias; whofe miniftry was without difpute the most remarkable and illuftrious of all the Prophets fince Mofes; which gave the Prophet Malachy occafion to call him Elias, much upon a like account as the Prophet Ezekiel calls the Meffiah, David (e).

But above all things, we must carefully obferve the several marks the Prophets give us of this forerunner.

The Prophet Ifaiah gives us these following particulars: 1. That his miniftry was to be very fignal, and attended with general respect and veneration. 2. That he was to preach in the wilderness. 3. That he was to call finners to repentance. 4. That he was to confound those who were moft eminent in authority, and to comfort the poor and humble. 5. That he was immediately to precede the Meffiah. 6. That his miniftry was to usher in that grand revelation of the glory of God in the presence of all flesh, i. e. before all nations of the earth, who were to be called by the Meffiah to his religion, according to the express declaration of the Prophets.

The Prophet Malachy doth most distinctly represent to us, 1. That the miffion of this forerunner was not far off, Behold, faith he, I fend my messenger. He speaks of it as of a thing at the door.

Now it is eyident

(d) Matth. iii. 1. Mark i. 2.

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(c) R. Saad.

(e) Ezek, xxxiv. 23, 24.

evident, and the Jews themselves own it, that from the time of Malachy, there was never a Prophet till the appearance of John the Baptift. 2. It tells us that this Elias was to call finners to repentance, and to prepare the way before the face of the Lord.

3. That he was immediately to precede the Meffias; this he expreffes by faying, And the Lord whom ye feek shall fuddainly come to his temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye delight in. It is evident that he speaks here of the Meffiah, whom he calls, not only the Angel or Messenger of the covenant, but also the Lord; (f) the Lord, forafmuch as God had promised him as a king to the houfe of David; and the Angel of the covenant, becaufe God by him was to make a new covenant with the nations of the earth, as Jeremy declares Chap. XXXI.

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That the MESSIAH was to be born before the Deffolution of the Jewish State, and the Destruction of the fecond Temple.

XXHE preceding mark of the Meffiah, leads us to this we are now *T Τ to speak of, and affords it confiderable light. I will not repeat here what I have already fet down concerning that prophecy, Gen. XLIX. verfe 10. concerning the time when our Saviour was to appear in the world: it is evident at firft fight, That that prophecy evinces three things: 1. That the feepter was to be in the houfe of Judah, before ever the Shiloh was to come. 2. That the Scepter was to give way to an inferiour dignity, which the Prophet fets forth by the word lawgiver; and which did take place till the time of Zerubbabel, and his fucceffors. 3. There was a neceffity that this laft dignity alfo was to come to an end, which happened not till the advancement of Herod the Great to the throne of Judea. And it is eafie to confirm this truth, by other oracles which give a further light to this our explication.

We have feveral that are very remarkable upon this account: the firft is that of Daniel, Chap. II. verfe 40, 41, 42, to 46. where he first takes notice of the fucceffion of feveral monarchies, until that of the Meffiah. 2. The time in which the Meffiah was to appear. I confefs he do's not determine the time very precifely, mentioning only the monarchy during which he was to be manifefted; but to make amends for this, when he comes to explain the particulars of this prophecy, which before he had propos'd in general terms; he doth not only point at the time of his appearance, but the very year of his death, and he do's it with that exactnefs, that it is impoffible to be mistaken about it.

See what he faith in the IX Chapter of his Revelations, verse 24, 25, 26, 27. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy -city, to finish the tranfgreffion, and to make an end of fins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to feal up


(f) Pfalm ii.

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the vifion and prophecy, and to anoint the moft Holy. Verse 25. Know there-
fore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore
and build Jerufalem, unto the Meffiah the Prince, fhall be feven weeks, and
threefcore and two weeks, the streets fhall be built again, and the wall even in
troublous times. Verle 26. And after the threefcore and two weeks fhall
MESSIAH be cut off, but not for himself. And the people of the Prince that
fhall come, fhall deftroy the city and the fanctuary, and the end thereof shall
be awith a flood, and unto the end of the war defolations are determined. Verse
27. And he fhall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the
midst of the week he shall caufe the facrifice and oblation to cease, and for the
over-fpreading abomination, he shall make it defolate, even until the confumma-
tion, and that determined fhall be poured on the defolate.

For the understanding of this prophecy which is fo exact, and all the
events it refers to, fo particularized, it is to be obferved:

1. That by the weeks Daniel here fpeaks of, feven years are defigned, according to the ftile of the law, Levit. XXV. 8. when it speaks of the year of jubilee; fo that feventy weeks make out 490 years which is acknowledged by the most learned amongst the Jews, Fachiades, Abarbanel, and Manaffeh Ben Ifrael.

2. That the Prophet writing in Chaldea, followed the account of the Chaldean year, which confifts of 360 days, as appears clearly from other paffages of this book, where he refolves the years into days, without regarding the feveral days which in a juft calculation were to be intercalated.

3. That the Prophet expreffes a certain epocha, from whence the counting of these weeks is to begin, viz. an order to rebuild the temple, which cannot be applyed to that of Cyrus, which was in a manner of none effect; nor to the edict of Darius fon of Hyftafpes, which had regard only to the re-establishing of the temple; nor to that of Artaxerxes given to Ezra, in the feventh year of the reign of that prince, because that contained only fome particular priviledges for the minifters of the temple but to the edict which Artaxerxes granted to Nehemiah in the twentieth year of his reign, which contains a particular grant, to rebuild the temple with its fortifications.

4. That God very diftinctly marks that the last week was not to be immediately joyned with the fixty nine weeks, by faying, that the Meffiah was to be cut off after the term of feven weeks, and fixty two weeks expired, instead of saying that he should be cut off in the feventieth week.

5. That according to this calculation, we find these three parts of this prophefie exactly accomplished. The firft which contains their building of the city was performed before the end of the feven weeks. The fecond concerning the cutting off of the Meffiah, has been likewife fullfilled after the fixty ninth week; Jefus Chrift appearing in the 483 year, after the twentieth of Artaxerxes, and being crucified the nineteenth of Tiberius.

As for the last week it is distinguished by three characters God hath given it, because it was to be feparated from the fixty ninth week by a confiderable interval, but yet was never a whit the lefs exactly accomplifhed. The first character is, that the people of the prince was to make



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peace with many, which agrees with the peace the Romans made with the Parthians, of which Tacitus makes mention Annal lib. 15. which peace was concluded just seven years before the deftruction of Jerufalems The fecond is the ceafing of the daily facrifice, which happened three years and a half after the peace made with the Parthians, as Jofephus hath obferved. The third is the deftruction of the Jews, which arrived exactly three years and a half after the ceafing of the daily facrifice, and feven years after the faid peace made with the Parthians.

I know that fome famous men begin the weeks of Daniel, from the fecond year of Darius Nothus, and make them to end with the deftruc tion of the Jews, which happened in the year 490, accounting from the fecond year of the faid Darius; and they conceive themselves oblig'd thereto, by an argument, they believe invincible, because from the fecond year of Darius Nothus to the thirty fecond of Artaxerxes Mnemon, they find juft forty nine years, that is the feven weeks defigned by Daniel for rebuilding of the ruins, and fortifying of the city; and the rather becaule Nehemiah returned to Artaxerxes in the thirty fecond year of his reign, having finished that work, Nehemiah XIII. 6.

But this opinion cannot stand, for two reafons, which feem to be de cifive: the firft is because they joyn that which God hath separated, viz. the death of the Meffiah with the laft week, which ends at the destruction of Jerufalem. The fecond is that without thinking of it they deprive Jefus Chrift of the glory, of having determined the time of the deftruction of the Jews, as if inftead of a prophefie about this event, Jefus Chrift had onely given the world an explication of a former prophefie."

Now thefe obfervations being fuppofed, as indeed they are matters of the greatest evidence, it neceffarily follows, that the Meffiah was to appear before the deftruction of Jerufalem by the Romans. The fame is fet down fo precisely by Daniel, as leaves no pretence to doubt of this truth. And indeed, tho' the Jews feem after the time of our Saviour, to have adopted the opinion I mentioned before, and therefore carried the ap pearing of the Meffiah to the end of the feventy weeks, viz. to the deftruction of their temple, notwithstanding Daniel exprefly tells us, that the Jews were not to be deftroyed till after the cuting off of the Mef fiah; the Jews I fay, being convinc'd by the force of this argument, have owned that the Meffiah was born about the time of the deftruction of the fecond temple, but that he hath hid himfelf ever fince.

The fecond oracle concerning the time of the coming of the Meffiah, is, that of Haggai, which exprefly tells us, that the Meffiah was to appear during the fecond temple, which was begun to be built by the order of Cyrus, finished under Darius fon of Hyftapes, and destroyed by Vefpafian. The words of the Prophet are as follows, Chap. II. verf. 7, 8, 9. And I will shake all nations, and the defire of all nations fhall came and I will fill this houfe with glory, faith the Lord of Hofts. The filver is mine, and the gold is mine, faith the Lord of Hofts. The glory of this latter boufe fhall be greater than that of the former faith the Lord of Hofts: and in this place will I give peace, faith the Lord of Hofts. It is worth our noting. 1. That this oracle promises a very great change. 2. It defcribes the Meffiah as the expectation of the Gentiles, fuitable to the idea God had given of him to Abraham. 3. That it fixes the coming of the Mef

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fiah to the time of the fecond houfe, that is to fay, of the temple built by Zorobabel. 4. It makes the glory of that houfe to depend upon its being honoured with the prefence of the Meffiah.

In fhort, if we would be convinc'd of this truth, we need only confider three things: the firft is, That the Prophets Zachariah and Malachy do represent to us the coming of the Meffiah as near at hand; Balaam had faid, almost ten ages before, I fee him, but not nigh, which in→ timated his coming to be then at a great distance. But Zechariah speaks thus concerning it, Chap. III. verf. 8, 9, 10: Hear now O Joshuah the high priest, thou and thy fellows that fit before thee, for they are men wondred at: behold, I will bring forth my fervant the BRANCH; for behold, the ftone that I have laid before Jofhua; upon one ftone shall be feven eyes; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, faith the Lord of Hofts, and I will res move the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day faith the Lord of Hofts, fball ye call every man his neighbour, under the vine and under the figtree.

Malachy expreffes himself, concerning the approaching coming of the Meffiah, thus, (Chap. III. verse 1.) Bohold, I will fend my meffenger, and he fhall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye feek, fhall fuddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in, be bold he fhall come faith the Lord of Hofts.

One ought to observe two very confiderable things in this Prophecy : the first, That the Meffiah was to come fuddainly. The fecond, That Malachy exprefly points to us, that the appearing of the Meffiah was to be during the second temple; the words of the prophecy distinctly expreffing it.


And fure it is, that all who gave any credit to thefe oracles, did uns derftand them fo.

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The firft, both Jews and Gentiles looked for the Meffiah during the second temple. We find a paffage exprefs to the purpose in Tacitus; and it was on this ground that Jofephus gave the title of Meffiah to Vefpafian.

2. They expected him at the end of the feventy weeks, which was the third year after the death of Jefus Chrift. This was the occafion of their being deluded by fo many falfe Meffiah's about the time of our Saviour, and a little after.

3. They never despair'd of his coming (taking the promise of the Meffiah's coming to be conditional, when as indeed it was abfolute) until they began to believe that the term fet down by God himself was expired.

4. The reafon of their curfing those that compute the times fet down fo diftinctly and precifely by Daniel, was, because they found themselves disappointed in his calculation, finding that the time which Daniel had pointed at for the coming of the Meffiah, seem'd to be already expired.

5. 'Tis but of late that they have try'd to evade it, by maintaining that the temple will be built a third time, and that then the Meffiah fhall appear; but this evafion is unanswerably refuted: 1. Because Daniel affigns a certain term which is expired 1600 years fince. 2. Because bę exprefly tells us, That the defolation of the temple was to be for ever, as

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