« PreviousContinue »
the world either can or ever could do; he that is least “in the kingdom of God,” being greater in this light and knowledge than John the Baptist himself, who yet was not behind any of the prophets that went before him.
3. The event confirms the character of that promised prophet to the Lord Jesus; for whoever should not receive the word of the prophet, God threatens to require it of him, that is, as they themselves confess, to exterminate them from among the number of his people, or to reject them from being so. Now this was done by the body of the Jewish nation; they received him not, they obeyed not his voice; and what was the end of this their disobedience? They who, for their despising, persecuting, and killing the former prophets were only chastened, afflicted, and again quickly recovered, out of the worst and greatest of their troubles, are, upon their rejection of him, and disobedience to his voice, cut off, destroyed, exterminated from the place of their solemn worship, and utterly rejected from being the people of God. Whatever may be conceived to be contained in the commination against those who should disobey the voice of that prophet promised, is all of it to the full, and its whole extent, come upon the Jews, upon their disobedience to the doctrine of Jesus of Nazareth; which, added to the foregoing considerations, undeniably prove him to be that prophet.
$16. 5. There is yet another character given of the Messiah in the Old Testament, in what he was to suffer in the world, in the discharge of his work and office. This being that wherein the main foundation of the whole was to consist, and that which God knew would be most contrary to the apprehensions and expectation of that carnal people, is, of all other descriptive notes of him, most clearly and fully asserted. The first evident testimony given hereto,is in Psal. xxii, 1– 22. It would be easy to evince, by a critical examination of ever part, that it is the Messiah, and he alone, who is ultimately and absolutely intended in this Psalm; and the whole was so exactly fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, that it appears to be spoken directly of him, and no other. The manner of his sufferings is scarcely more clearly expressed in the story of it by the evangelists, than it is here foretold by David in prophecy, and therefore many passages out of this Psalm are expressed by them in their records. He it was, who pressed with the sense of God's dereliction, cried out, “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” He it was that was accounted "a worm, and no man," and who was reviled and reproached accordingly; at him did men “wag their heads,” and him did they reproach with his trust in God; his “bones were drawn “out of joint,” by the manner of his sufferings; his hands and feet were pierced, and upon his vesture they did cast lots; upon his sufferings were the truth and promises of God declared and preached to all the world.
$17. We have yet another signal testimony to the same purpose, Isa. liii. As the outward manner of the Messiah's sufferings, with their actings who were instrumental therein, is principally considered in Psal. xxii, so the inward nature, together with the important end and effects of them, are declared in this prophecy. Nor is there any prophecy that fills the present rabbins with more perplexities, or drives them to more absurdities and contradictions. That it is the Messiah, and none other, we have not only the evidence of the text and context, and the nature of the subject matter treated of, with the utter impossibility
of applying the thing spoken of to any other person, without the overthrow of the whole faith of the ancient church, but also all the advantage from the confession of the Jews that can be expected, or need to be desired, from adversaries. For
1. The most ancient and best records of their judgment expressly affirm the person to be the Messiah. This is the Targum on the place, which themselves esteem to be of unquestionable, if not of Divine, authority. The spring and rise of the whole prophecy, as the series of the discourse manifests, is in chap. lii, 13; and there the words, "Behold my servant shall pros"per, or deal wisely," are rendered by Jonathan; "Behold my servant, the Messiah shall prosper.” And among others, chap. liii, 5; is so paraphrased by him, as that none of the Jews will pretend any other to be intended, In the Talmud itself, (Saned. Tractat. Chelek.) among other names they assign to the Messiah, (nyban) cholia is one; because it is said in this place, “that truly he bore (1957) our infirmity.” We have their ancient rabbins making the same acknowledgment. To this purpose they say, (in Bereshith Rabba, on Gen. xxiv, 17;) “This is Messiah the king, “who shall be in the generation of the wicked, and “shall reject them. And he shall set his heart to seek “mercy for Israel, to fast, and to humble himself for "them, as it is written Isa. liii, he was wounded for our “transgressions. And when Israel sinneth, he seeketh “mercy for them, as it is said again, and by his stripes "we are healed.” And, not to repeat more particular testimonies, we have their full confession in Alsheck, on the place: “Behold our masters of blessed memory “with one consent determine according as they received “by tradition, that it is concerning Messiah the king “these words are spoken.” And therefore Abarbinel himself, who of all his companions hath taken most pains to corrupt and pervert this prophecy, confesseth, that all their ancient wise men consented with BenUzziel in his Targum. So that we have as full a suffrage to this character of the Messiah, from the Jews themselves, as can be desired or expected.
2. To apply this to the Jewish people as a body, is contrary, not only to their Targum and Talmud, and their chief writers, but also, to the express words of the text, plainly describing one individual person.
Contrary to the context, distinguishing the people of the Jews from him that was to suffer for them, ver. 3_6. Contrary to every particular assertion and passage in the whole prophecy, no one of them being applicable to the body of the people. Hence Johannes Isaac confesseth, that the consideration of this place was the means of his conversion. Again,
3. The whole work promised from the foundation of the world, to be accomplished by the Messiah, is here ascribed to the person treated of, and his sufferings. Peace with God is to be made by his chastisement, and healing of our wounds by sin is from his stripes. He bears the iniquity of the church, that they may find acceptance with God. In his hand the pleasure of the Lord, for the redemption of his people, was to prosper;
and he is to justify them for whom he died. If these, and the like things here mentioned, may be performed by any other, the Messiah may stay away, there is no work for him to do in this world. But if these are the things which God hath promised that he shall perform; then he, and none other, is here intended.
$18. They yet urge farther these words, ver. 10; “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days.” This, say they, is not agreeable to any, but those who
have children of their bodies begotten, in whom their days are prolonged. I answer,
1. It were well if they would consider the words foregoing; of his making his soul an offering for sin; that is, dying for it; and then tell us, how he that doth so, can see his carnal seed afterwards, and in them prolong his days.
2. He that is here spoken of is directly distinguished from the seed; that is, the people of God; so that they cannot be the subject of the prophecy.
3. It is not said, that he shall prolong his days in his seed, but he himself shall prolong his days after his death; that is, upon his resurrection he shall live eternally, which is called length of days.
4. The seed here are the seed spoken of, Psal. xxii, 30; “A seed that shall serve the Lord,” and be all accounted to him for a generation; that is, a spiritual seed, as the Gentiles are called, the children of Sion “brought forth upon her travailing,” Isa. Ixvi, 8. Besides, how the Messiah shall obtain this seed, is expressed in the next verse; "by his knowledge shall my "righteous servant justify many;" they are such as are converted to God by his doctrine, and justified by faith in him. And that disciples should be called the seed, the offspring, the children of their masters and instructors, is so common among the Jews, and familiar to them, that no phrases are more in use. See Isa. viii, 18.
$19. We may yet add some other testimonies to the same purpose. Daniel tells us, chap. ix, 25, (nrup 059) “Messiah shall be cut off;" i. e. from the land of the living, “and that not for himself.” And Zech. ix, 9; it is said, that he shall be (939) “poor;” and in his best condition, "riding on an ass,” which place is interpreted by Solomon, Jarehi, and others, of the