« PreviousContinue »
Thus the two classes of prophecies which we are comparing, viz. those about the light of the Gentiles, and those that speak of a divine person incarnate, contain the same fingular characters of extraordinary exaltation and glory, and of extraordinary humiliation and sufferings : and as it was of use to consider those two points apart by themselves, on account of their peculiar importance ; so they pave the way for running the parallel between the two sorts of prophecies in view, in the method observed in the former chapter, by thowing the harmony between them in the following particulars : 1. their speaking of the times of the enlightening of the Gentiles; 2. their harmony in their account of the enemies of the extraordinary person they speak of; 3. and of facts relating more directly to the history of his life; as well as in, 4. the doctrinal characters they give of him; and, 5, in the principal figures by which they express these facts or doctrines; together with, 6. the consolations, and other practical instructions, which they mix with these things.
I. Though all the above-cited passages relating to a divine person incarnate, do not expressly call him the light of the Gentiles; yet there are several things, either in these pallages themselves, or in the contexts to which they belong, which show, that the times of the enlightening of the Gentiles are the times they treat of.
Thus in Pl_Ixviii. whereas y 18. speaks of a divine person ascending on high, the context, in v 32. speaks of the time when all the kingdoms of the earth would sing praises to the Lord, which supposes their being enlightened in the knowledge of him; and particularly 31. fpeaks of “princes co“ ming out of Egypt, and of Ethiopia, as foon
stretching out her hands to God *." The 110th
* See Acts viii. 37. &c.
pfalm speaks expressly of the same person as a priest for ever at the right hand of God in heaven, and as ruling at the same time among the Heathen or Gentiles on earth. In the oth of Isaiah, which, in * 6. contains one of the clearest prophecies concerning a divine person incarnate, it is said, y 2. “ The people that walked in darkness have seen a
great light : they that dwell in the land of the "" shadow of death, upon them hath the light fhi“ ned;" where the expressions, importing the enlightening of the Gentiles, have a manifest resemblance to the expressions on the same subject in 11. xlix. 9. and chap. xlii. 16. formerly explained, Whereas, in If. xl. x 3. 4. & 9. are evidently parallel to Mal. iii. 1. both these places speaking of the coming of the Lord after a forerunner has prepared the way before him; and in the 9th verse of this 40th of Isaiah, Zion and Jerusalem are once and again said to bring good tidings, and are commanded “to lift up their voice with strength, to lift it
up, and not to be afraid ; to say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God :"
the context, 5. shews, that in this chapter the prophet is speaking of the times when the glory of the Lord should be revealed, and all Hesh thould see it together. In Il. xlv. which treats of the Lord, in whom Ifrael fould have righteousness and strength, and in whom they should be justified, and hould glory, the prophet fhews, that he is speaking of the time when " all the ends of the earth should be called to look " to the Lord, that they might be faved,” ♡ 22.; and to sew that he is not speaking of a calling of the nations without any effect or success, it is added, that “ the Lord had sworn by himself, and that " the word was gone out of his mouth, that unto “ him every knee should bow, and every tongue " fhould swear,” ¥ 23. ; which prediction agrees with what is foretold in ý 16. 17. about the overthrow of idolatry, and about lsrael's being saved in H 2 .
the Lord, with an everlasting salvation. In Micah v. whereas y 2. speaks of the ruler in Israel, whose goings forth were from of old, from everlasting, and who was to come out of Bethlehem ; x 4. tells us, not only that he would feed in the strength, and in the majesty, of the name of the Lord his God; but adds, " For now fhall he be great unto " the ends of the earth :" which proves, that the prophet speaks of the times, when the ends of the earth, the remotelt Gentile nations, thould be enlightened in the knowledge of God, and of the greatness of his majesty. And as the above-cited three contiguous chapters in Zechariah speak of a divine person incarnate in a state of humiliation, the last of these chapters * speaks of the overthrow of idolatry; and the first and the last 7 of them speak of the breaking of the covenant between God and the people of the Jews, and of a general and exti aordinary defolation that was to Befall that people; which must be understood of what happened in the times of the enlightening of the Gentiles ; because the desolation by the Babylonish captivity was past before the time of Zechariah's prophecy.
II. As to what is foretold in the prophecies in view, concerning the enemies of that extraordinary person whom they speak of, several things relative to that subject are anticipated in the remarks that have been made already on the chief contents of those prophecies I. It is sufficient to add at prefent, that in If. viii. 14. the Lord of hosts is faid to be for a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of Israel, at the same time that he is faid to be for a farctuary to some other people; which must be meant of those who are not of the house of Israel, but of the nations of the Gentiles : and that in If. xlv. 24. where it is foretold, that
• Chap. xiii. 2. 8. & 9. + Chạp. xi. Io.
men would say, “ Surely, in the Lord I have righ“ teousness and strength,” mention is made of fome who would be incensed against him, and should be ashamed. So usual it is with the prophets, in handling this subject, with the most encouraging promises to mix awful threatenings; the design of which is, to give merciful warnings concerning the danger of neglecting so great falvation.
III. As to facts relating to the life and death of the extraordinary person in view, there is a remarkable harmony, as has been proved in part already, between the two sorts of prophecies we are comparing, as to the account they give of the time when that person was to come into the world, of the family of which he was to descend, of the place of his residence, and his humiliation and sufferings; and it adds greatly to the force of the general argument, that the prophecies relating to a divine perfon incarnate, are more special and particular on some of these heads, than the other prophecies formerly considered, besides their containing some new facts which those other prophecies do not mention.
As to the time of that great person's coming to the world, when Malachi fays, that the messenger of the covenant was to come to his temple, it supposes, that he was to come during the standing of the second temple, it being in the time of that temple that Malachi prophesied. In Isaiah xl. it is supposed, that he was to come while Jerusalem and the cities of Judah subsisted, seeing these cities are called to behold him : And whereas the name of Zion, when understood to denote a particular place, fignifies the church of God in Judea or Israel, to which that name was originally appropriated ; and is applied to the converted Gentiles, as acceding to the communion of that church, and incorporated with her ; it is not only foretold, that the Mefliah
should be appointed king in Zion, Pf. ii. but that God would send the rod of his strength (the Mefsiah's strength) out of Zion, Pf. cx. 2. ; which is equivalent to the prediction If. ii. 3 that when the nations Thould flow into Zion, it ihould be by means of a law coming out of Zion, and the word of the Lord coning from Jerusalem; plainly implying, that the doctrine that was to enlighten the Gentile nations was to come from Judea ; and confequently, that the revealer of that doctrine was first to publish it there, and that he was to come to the world during the time that Judea was, in a peculiar manner, the seat of the visible church: So that' such predictions concerning Zion, contain intimations, not only concerning the place of the Messiah's retidence and public ministry, but also concerning the time of his coming.
Whereas the prophecies considered in the former chapter, about the light of the Gentiles, foretell, in a more general way, that he was to spend his labour among the Jews in vain, If. xlix.
which supposes his residing among them, and also that he was to descend of the houle of Jeffe; the prophecies that have been considered in this chapter, fore-. tell more particularly, that he was to be born in Bethlehem, and was to descend of the family of Da.. vid, Micah v. 2. Jer. xxiii. 6.
The prophecies in If. x). and Mal. iii. contain several facts relating to the Messiah's forerunner; particularly, that he would not only call men to prepare
for the coming of the Lord, but that he would have success in his preaching; that he would actually prepare the way of the Lord before him ; that he would appear but a very little time before the Lord, the Messiah himself; for after mentioning the senuing of that inferior messenger, it is added, that the Lord, the messenger of the covenant, would come suddenly to his temple, Mal. iii. i. And whereas, in framing conjectures, it might appear