« הקודםהמשך »
descent of the great Angel after a manner and for an end considerably differing from any thing which has occurred either under Patriarchism or under the Law; because, in the descent there foretold, the Word is both to be born of a woman and to be bruised as to his mortal part by the infernal serpent : so the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, which specially belonged to the Levitical dispensation, closes with announcing the speedy advent of this mysterious personage; and thus chaunts the death-song of that dispensation, just as Balaam had chaunted the death-song of Patriarchism.
(1.) At the period of the restoration from Babylon, a matter necessary to be effected in order that various prophecies relative to the nativity of Christ might be accurately accomplished, much important information on this point is communicated to Zechariah.
In one of his visions, he beholds the Angel of Jehovah in the act of interceding with Jehovah on behalf of Judah : that is to say, he beholds the Word, under the same human form which he was wont occasionally to assume, addressing the invisible God in his federal capacity of a mediator.'
In another of them, by recording a very remarkable declaration of Jehovah, he teaches, that God was about to dwell in the midst of Judah, that many of the heathen nations should then become his people, and yet that this august being who claims to himself the incommunicable name of
Jehovah professes to be sent by Jehovah. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts : After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you ; for he, that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants : and ye shall know, that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion : for, lo, I come ; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jchovah. And many nations shall be joined unto Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people : and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto thee.' The period, assigned for this dwelling of Jehovah sent by Jehovah in the midst of Judah, is that, when the nations should be joined to this august mesgen ger and should become his people. But events have demonstrated the period, thus described, to be the period of our Lord's personal ministry and of the early preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hence it 'must needs follow, that the sent Jehovah, foretold by Zechariah, is no other than Christ. But the whole analogy of the Hebrew Scripture proves, that the sent Jehovah is the same person as the Angel or Messenger of Jehovah, whom we have already seen to be the God both of the Patriarchs and of the Israelites. Therefore Christ is that Angel of Jehovah, who so repeatedly manifested himself under a human form during the continuance of the two first dispensations.
Zechar. ii, 8-11.
In a third vision, the prophet beholds Joshua the high-priest standing before this same Angel of Jehovah and Satan attempting to resist his gracious purposes of mercy. On that occasion, Jehovah promises, by the mouth of his Angel, that in due time he will bring forth his servant the Branch; that is to say, the righteous Branch, which Isaiah had foretold should spring from the family of Jesse, and which should be characterised by the circumstance of the Gentiles seeking to it.'
In a fourth vision, he celebrates the Angel under his other name of the Word; still describing him, as being officially the Messenger of Jehovah. Moreover, the Word of Jehovah came unto me, saying: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house ; his hands also shall finish it : and thou shalt know, that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you.' It is evident, that the sent Word in this passage cannot but be the same as the sent Jehovah in a former passage.
Lastly in a fifth vision, though it doubtless rèlates to the yet future excision of the Antichristian faction, he declares, that the feet of Jehovah shall stand upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.3 Now this expression seems plainly to denote a visible anthropomorphic appearance of the Angel of Jehovah : and it is worthy of observation, that, in the days of his first advent, the mount of Olives, which will hereafter
" Zechar. iii, 1-8.
2 Zechar. iv. 8, 9.
3. Zechar, xiv. 3, 4.
cleave in the midst beneath him, was a favourite haunt of our blessed Saviour. I may here remark, as a curious circumstance, that the Rabbins, however pertinaciously they may deny Jesus to be the Messiah, speak of the manifestation here announced as already past, and that they limit its duration to three years and a half which is the identical time allotted to the personal ministry of Christ. Whence they derived such an opinion, I pretend not to deterinine : most probably they borrowed the specified period from the prophetic half week mentioned by Daniel or from the three times and a half during which the little horn is to be in opposition to the Messiah.
(2.) The same theme is pursued by Malachi, who expressly teaches us, that the promised Deliverer was to be the Angel of Jehovah.
This being he denominates the Angel or the Messenger of the covenant, in whose character as their national God the Jews were wont to delight; speaks of him as suddenly coming to his own temple; puts a speech into his mouth, under the peculiar name of God; and declares, that his coming close upon the heels of his harbinger the mystic Elijah is the coming of Jehovah himself."
That Malachi here foretold the Messiah, was fully acknowledged by the Jewish doctors in our
R. Jochanan said, Three years and a half was the Shechinah standing on the mount of Olives and crying; Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Martin. Pug. p. 661. cited by Jamieson.
Malach. ii. 1-6. iv. 2-26.
Saviour's time, as is manifest from the question put to him by his disciples immediately after the transfiguration : Why then say the scribes, that Elias must first come?' Nor does Christ deny the propriety of the interpretation : on the contrary, he confirms it. But, if Christ were the person foretold by Malachi : then the temple at Jerusalem was dedicated to him; then he was the Angel of the covenant; then he was Jehovah, the Angel of Jehovah, who throughout the entire Hebrew Scriptures appears as the God of the two first dispensations.
(3.) In this dying song of the Levitical Church, the holy prophet Daniel takes a very important part.
He flourished synchronically with the restoration of Judah : and, as he witnessed the expiration of the seventy years of the captivity; so he specified a determinate period, within which the Most Holy One should be anointed, within which the essential Righteousness of the eternal ages should he made to come, and within which the Messiah should make atonement for iniquity. When these matters should have been accomplished, and partly indeed in the very course of their accomplishment; the anointed Prince should dissolve the Levitical dish pensation, by divorcing from him his allegorical coasort, and by putting an end to the characteristic sacrifice and meat-offering."
• Matt. xvii. 10.
* Dan. ix. 24–27. See my Diss. on the lxx weeks. c. iv. p. 228, 229.