« PreviousContinue »
These three characters are here given to comprehend all saints for haply some have in a measure subjected outwardly to Antichrist, but did not worship; some perhaps have not subjected, but had not the opportunity or magnanimity to suffer; and others may have subjected or worshiped, and afterwards repented and suffered. In other places of the Revelation, instead of this negative-"have not the mark of the beast;" they are said "to have the mark of the Lamb's Father in their forehead." Rev. xiv, 1, &c. They profess the truth of God, with faith in Christ Jesus; they are truly "saints, and fear the name of God;" which is the description given in Rev. xi, 15—18 of those that shall reign with Christ.
All such saints shall reign with Christ, (the kingdoms of the earth then being actually and absolutely become His kingdoms,) and visibly possess the power and dominion over the earth, for a thousand years, literally and properly taken; and Christ shall most gloriously appear, at least at the beginning and ending of that thousand years: though we cannot yet so demonstratively and infallibly hold forth, that he shall continue all that time personally present upon the earth. The Devil, in the meanwhile, shall all that time be wholly and absolutely restrained (in effects, acts, and person,) from the precincts of the Church.
To remove in the first place the prejudice of novelty and singularity, we shall produce approved Antiquity, both before and after Christ, with a multitude of later worthies, almost in every age congratulating with this truth. Which testimony we intend not for proof of the doctrine; but to remove impediments from men's minds, and so to reconcile them to a patient attention and tractable docility.
I. Of Hebrew antiquities, which, for seniority's sake, we set in the front, we have divers. The first is the Targum or Chaldee Paraphrase ;a which took its beginning from the captivity of the Jews in Babylon: where their native tongue grew so out of use, that the generality of them better understood the Chaldee than the Hebrew. The Targum hath many pertinent things; especially if we compare several copies of it. For there is a Manuscript Targum, which upon Esther, chap. i, reckoning up the several monarchies from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof, makes the computation thus: "The first mo"narchy was of God; second, under Nimrod; third, under "Pharaoh; fourth, under Solomon; fifth, under Nebuchadnezzar; sixth, under the Medes and Persians; seventh, under "Alexander the Great; eighth, under Julius Cæsar; the ninth, "the kingdom of the Messiah, or Christ." Where observe, how the Jews place the kingdom of Christ next in order after the Roman monarchy, and to be on earth, as the former were. 2. The Babylonian targum, or ordinary Chaldee paraphrase, saith Gen. xlix, 10, 11, that Christ shall come, whose "is the kingdom, and him shall the Peoples obey." Observe the plural peoples, i. e. the nations indefinitely. This the Jerusalem targum expresseth more literally and universally : "The King Christ shall come, whose is the kingdom, and all kings (Mark the universality and the persons) shall be subject "unto him; so that those kings and princes, that will not be subject unto him, he shall kill; making the universe red with the blood of their slain, and the hills white with the fat of their mighty men, &c." But these things were not fulfilled at Christ's advent in the flesh it was above three hundred years after before one king or nation was subject to him; (viz. in the time of Constantine the Great ;) and except some sprinklings of converts here and there, called churches, the nations and
a It is presumed, that the practice of giving the Chaldee paraphrase, at the reading of the Law, began in Ezra's time; (see Nehemiah viii, 7-9,) but there is no authentic written paraphrase or targum before the time of Onkelos and Jonathan, who lived about thirty years before the time of our Saviour. The Jerusalem Targum is indeed supposed to be a fragment of some much more ancient paraphrase. These Targums are published in Buxtorf's Hebrew Bible; Basil, 1610.
kings of the earth either took no cognizance of his interest or persecuted it even as ten parts of the world do to this day. Neither hath Christ yet taken that material and sensible vengeance on them, by killing the disobedient, in order to bring the rest into a visible subjection to him.
3. Paraphrast Jonathan, in his Chaldee paraphrase of Hosea xiv, 8, hath these words, "They [speaking of the Jews] shall be gathered together from out of the midst of their captivity; they shall dwell under the shadow of their Christ; and the dead "shall live; and good shall grow in the earth; and there shall "be a memorial of their goodness fructifying and never failing; as the remembrance of the sound of the trumpets over the old wine, which was wont to be offered in the sanctuary.” To this let me add a passage out of the Capitula of Rabbi Eliezer the Great, who lived just after the second temple was built: As I live, saith Jehovah, I will raise you up [speaking of the Jews] in the time to come in the resurrection of the dead; and "I will gather you with all Israel." Cap. xxxiv. Both these places harmonise; in that, to this day, the generality of the Jews have not owned any Messiah to be come in the flesh, but refused him, according as it was foretold in Isaiah, liii, 3. And the remnant of believing Jews have never since seen that particular resurrection of the dead, or that gathering together out of the midst of their captivity, or that general good in the earth. And therefore according to the Scriptures these things are yet to come, before the last and general resurrection.
Of Hebrew antiquities since the incarnation of Christ, (viz. their two Talmudsb and other Rabbins,) we shall also give some particulars.
4. In Gemarah Sanhedrin we read: R. Ketina hath said:
In the last of the thousands of years of the world's continuance
b The Talmud is a collection of Jewish traditions, and consists of two parts. The first, which is the text, comprehends the traditions themselves, and is called Mischna, i. e. Second Law; the second contains the commentaries of the Rabbins on the text, and is called Gemarah, i. e. Completion. There are two Talmuds, the Babylonish and the Jerusalem; the Mischna being the same in both, but differing in the commentaries. The former is most esteemed by the Jews, and is the work always intended by them, when they speak generally of the Talmud. The Mischna, according to their unanimous testimony, was composed about the close of the second century, by Rabbi Juhuda Hakkadosh; the commentaries were added long after by Rabbi Jochanan Eliezar.
the world shall be destroyed; of which period it is said, 'The "Lord only shall be exalted in that day.' Is. ii, 11, 17. And tradition agrees with R. Ketina; for even as every seventh " year is a year of release, so of the seven thousand years of the world, the seventh thousand years shall be the thousand of release; as it is said, ' And the Lord alone shall be exalted in 'day.' Likewise Psalm xcii is said to be, ' A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day: that is-the day that is nothing else but rest. And also Psalm xc: A thousand years in thy sight are but as
From this it must be plain to acute observers, that the ancient rabbinical Jews did clearly understand the exaltation of the Lord, twice repeated in Isaiah ii, as meant of the great day of the reign of Christ; which some rabbins call the day of Judgment; others, the day of Messiah; others, the day of Renovation of the world. 5. In Midrasch Tehillim, upon Psalm xc, 15, we thus read: Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted “us,’—that is, by the Babylonian, the Grecians, and the Romans; and the gladness in the days of the Messiah. And how many are the days of Messiah? R. Jehosuas said, that they are "two thousand years; even as it is said, 'According to the days wherein thou hast humbled us :' that is, according to two days; and one day of our blessed God is a thousand years, according "to that Scripture: Because a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday.' The Rabbins also have said, that according "to the time to come, the day of the Messiah shall be one. "For God, which is holy and blessed, in the future [age] shall
make one day to himself, of which we read in Zech. xiv. And "there shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night, and it shall be at the evening-time light.' This day is the age or world to come, and the quickening of 'the dead."
6. In their book called Berachoth, we find this. Benzuma
saith, it shall come to pass, that Israel shall not remember their departure out of the land of Egypt, in the world to come,c
c Mark diligently how by world to come they understand a time on earth; as Paul hath it twice," the inhabited world to come." (τyy oikovμevηy tyv μɛdXovoav.) Heb. i, 6; ii, 5. For no man could imagine that heaven above should be put in subjection to angels, so as to need the Apostle's explanation to prevent such a notion.
"and in the days of the Messiah.
And how doth this appear?
By that which is written, Behold the day cometh, that they ́ ́ ́ shall say no more, the Lord liveth which brought the children ́ of Israel up out of the land of Egypt, &c.' Which wise men interpret not, as if the name of Egypt should be blotted "out; but that the wonders, which shall be effected in the days of the kingdom of Messiah, shall principally be remem“bered, and their departure out of Egypt less."d
7. R. Saadias on Dan. vii, 18, (“the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom,") says thus: "Because the children of Israel have rebelled against the Lord, their kingdom shall be "taken from them, and shall be given to the four monarchies, "which shall possess the kingdom in this world, and shall lead « Israel captive, and subdue them to themselves, even till the "world to come when Messiah shall reign."
8. I add further proofs of the opinions of the Rabbins out of the learned Treatise of R. Menasse Ben Israel "De Resurrectione Mortuorum:" the truth or falsehood of which opinions I stay not to dispute; but this I infer from them, that they must needs have expected a happy estate of good men on earth at their resurrection. Lib. ii, c. 10, he notices, in order to refute the objection, how the world shall be able to contain all that shall be raised; and particularly the land of Palestine all the Jews. "The Rabbins answer (he says) that there are now "many tracts of the world which are either unknown, or if known, through too much heat or cold not inhabited. Which things shall not be so at the resurrection: for then all parts "of the earth shall be known and be habitable. And Isaiah excellently explains the capacity of Palestine, or the holy land promised to the Israelites as the place of their entertainment : "Sing O, barren, &c. enlarge the place of thy tent, and let "them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare "not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. "thou shalt break forth on the right hand, and on thy left; and thy seed shall inherit the gentiles, and shall make the desolate cities to be inhabited.' By the place of the tent is
Note also by the way, that it is not agreed among the Rabbins, in what thousand years of the world the said day of Messiah shall be. reuth, others in the sixth, others about the fifth.
Some say in the se