« AnteriorContinuar »
(Ess. x subsists between the history of the angel-that representative of the Father, that image of the invisible God, that ever-present and operating protector of God's people—and the account given in the numerous passages already cited from the New Testament, of Jesus Christ preexistent; secondly, from the evidence of Mal. iii, 1, in which prophecy (as is allowed by the generality of Christian, and by some Jewish, commentators) the Messiah is described as the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, comp. Jud. ii, 1; and thirdly, from the unquestionable fact, (as the writings of Philo, of the Targumists, and of Ben Jochaï, show it to be) that this wonder-working angel of Jehovah was the very person whom the ancient Jews (the apostle John, doubtless, among the rest) were accustomed to describe as the Word and Son of God.
3 In the Targum of Onkelos, the Angel of Jehovah, as he was manifested to Jacob and to Balaam, appears to be described as the Word of Jah: comp. Onk. on Gen. xxviii, 20, with Heb. Text, Gen. xxxi, 11, 13, and Onk. on Numb. xxiii, 3, 4, 16, with Heb. Text, Numb. xxii, 35. In the Jerusalem Targum, the same title is given to him in reference to bis communication with Hagar, Gen. xvi; Abraham, Gen. xviii, 1 ; and Moses, Exod. iii, 14. In the Targum of Jonathan on Isaiah Ixiii, 7—10, the Word and the Angel are again evidently identified. With respect to Philo, he frequently denominates the Word or Son of God, the Angel of Archangel, and much of his doctrine respecting the personality and pow. erful operations of the Word is evidently derived from the history of the Angel of Jehovah, as it is stated in the Old Testament—a history to which he makes frequent references. For example, aster describing (in a passage already cited) the pastoral care exercised by the Word or First-born Son over the “flock” of created things—he confirms his doctrine by a reference to one of the principal passages of Scripture relating to this mysterious Angel: “ for,” says he, “it is somewhere written, Behold I am he: I will send mine Angel before thee to keep thee in the way :" vide Exod. xxiii, 20. Philo de Agricult. Ed. Mang. vol. i, p. 308. Lastly, with regard to the Zohar, Schoettgen has adduced abundant evidence that the Son, Image, or Word, of God—the divine Messiah of Israel-of whom the author of that book so often speaks, was, in his estimation, no other than the Angel of Jehovah, whose history is recorded in the Old Testament: De Messiá, pp. 6, 125, 145, 149, 195, 911,
to whow was attributed
245 Lastly, if the Person, of whose power and offices these narrations testify, was indeed the son of God, the doctrine of the deity of Christ preexistent will be found to derive a clear and substantial confirmation from the history of the angel, who constantly assumes the character, and is as constantly designated by the titles, which appertain only to the Supreme Being. Thus, when he was manifested to Hagar in the wilderness, he said to her, “I will multiply thy seed exceed
ingly, &c.....and she called the name of the LORD that <spake unto her, “ Thou, God, seest me:" Gen. xvi,
10, 13. When he visited Abraham on the plains of Mamre, he not only revealed the designs of his own providence, but was frequently addressed by Abraham, as the Supreme Being : Gen xviii. When, again, he called aloud to the patriarch out of heaven, he said, “ Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from ME:" Gen. xxii, 12. When he spake to Jacob in a dream, he said, “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me:” Gen. xxxi, 11-13. When he called to Moses out of the burning bush, he spake in the character of God, and said,
I AM THAT I AM:” Exod. iï, 6, 14. When the Father Almighty declared him to be the Person whom he had graciously appointed to drive out the Canaanites from before the children of Israel, God said, “ Beware of him, and obey his voice; provoke him not: for he will not pardon your transgressions : for MY NAME is in him," Exod. xxiii, 21; and in precise accordance with these remarkable expressions, when the angel, on a subsequent occasion, addressed
the children of Israel at Bochim, he spake to them as [ follows: “I made you go up out of Egypt, and have
brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers : and I said, I will never break my covenant
[Ess. x. with you..... but ye have not obeyed my voice ..... wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you," &c. : Jud. ii, 1–3. When his appearance to Gideon is mentioned, he is described as the Divine Being looking upon the warrior, and saying, “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent thee?" Jud. vi, 14. When he displayed his glory to Manoah, the latter concluded that his own death was inevitable, because he had seen God: Jud. xiii, 22. And lastly, in the prophecies of Amos, he is again described as Jehovah, ch. vii, 7, and in those of Zechariah, as Je. hovah sent by Jehovah : ii, 8–13.
VII. The observations which, under the preceding heads, have been offered respecting the Word or Angel of God, through whose mediation all the divine purposes were effected, and who was himself regarded as the Deity present with his people, and operating for their protection and deliverance, will prepare the reader for a just estimate of a very important fact, that various passages in the Old Testament, which describe Jehovah in his personal presence, and immediate operations, are by the writers of the New Testament applied, without any apparent reserve or hesitation, to THE SON OF GOD. Two examples of such an application may now be given : and as we have already traced the deity of Christ preexistent in the statements of Scripture respecting his works and attributes, these examples will confirm our whole argument, by showing that the sacred writers have actually denominated him God and Jehovah."
In Psalm cii, we find the following striking passage: "When Jehovah," shall build up Zion, he shall
4 When the LORD, in our common English Version of the Old Testament, is printed in large letters, it almost uniformly represents the Hebrew JEHOVAH.
247 appear in his glory: comp. John i, 14. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer: comp. Matt. viii, 2, 3, 6, 13: 1 John v, 13, 15. This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise Jehovah: comp. Dan. ix, 26. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did Jehovah behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed to death, comp.
Isa. lxi, 1; Zech. ix, 11; Heb. ii, 15, &c.; to declare the name of Jehovah in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; comp. John i, 18; xvii, 26. When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms to serve Jehovah: comp. Isa. xi, 10; xlis, 6; Rom. xv, 8, 9. He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands," &c. 16-25.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, (as has been already mentioned) the latter part of this passage is cited as relating to the Son of God, and cited for the express purpose of proving his superiority in the divine nature over all the angels : see Heb. i, 10.
Now, since Jehovah is here represented as the Person who should appear in Zion--who should in his immediate presence operate for the protection and deliverance of his people--and who should declare the name of Jehovah, even as one commissioned declares the name of one who commissions him, comp. Gen. xix, 24; Zech. ii, 10–13; it is no matter of surprise that any ancient Jewish theologian should recognize, in the description thus given by the Psalmist, the character of that Word of Jehovah who acts in behalf of Jehovah, and is Jehovah; and accord
248 Incidentally applied
[Ess. x. ingly, I observe that it is the Word of Jehovah, of whom the passage is explained by the Chaldaic Paraphrast.5
Much less is such an explanation of the passage extraordinary in a Christian Jew, who not only must have agreed with his fellow-countrymen in their doctrine respecting the word, comp. Heb. xi, 3; but who could scarcely fail to trace in this ancient prophecy the delineation of that divine Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who had already appeared in Zion-who had already manifested his mercies to a generation which, at the time when David wrote, was a future onewho had already proclaimed the name of his Father in Jerusalem-who had already lifted up his standard for the gathering together of the people and kingdoms—for the conversion of the Gentile nations to the truth of God.
These · remarks may serve to elucidate the views entertained by the writer of the Epistle, when he applied this passage of the Psalms to the Son of God. But, on the presumption that this Epistle, like the rest of the New Testament, was written by inspiration (a point which I cannot now discuss, but which I am persuaded a careful examination of the subject will fully substantiate) we are to remember that this application, whether more or less elucidated, is unquestionably correct; and we may therefore adduce this passage in the Psalms, as affording a satisfactory evidence of our proposition, that Christ preexistent was himself God or Jehovah.
In the sixth chapter of the Prophecies of Isaiah, Jehovah is described as actually appearing in the
5 Psalm cii, 16.—“When Jehovah shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory." This verse is in the Targum paraplırased as follows:
-“ Because (or when) the city of Zion shall be built up by the Word of Jah, he shall appear in his glory.”