The affairs of the Jews continued about the same under the Grecian as under the Medo-Persian reign. While Jaddua was high priest in Jerusalem Alexander visited the Holy Land III person, was well received, and promised to befriend the inhabitants. It is said that he was met, before his entrance, into Jerusalem, by the priestly tribe in their white robes, accompanied by a vast number of citizens dressed in white, and the high priest (chief ruler) at their head, accompanied with a band of priestly musicians, clashing their cymbals. The sight was very imposing, and obtained favor in the sight of the world's conqueror. His name was well received in Palestine during his short reign of about thirteen years, and both Jews and Samaritans embraced every opportunity to entreat his favor on themselves and urge his punishment on their opponents. For about a century and a half subsequent to the death of Alexander, Palestine was considered a province of the Graeco-Egyptian kingdom. It was the principal stage across which "the, kings of the south," the Alexandrian Ptolemies, and the "kings of the north," the Seleucidae from Antioch, passed to and fro with their court intrigues and incessant armies, their Indian elephants, their Grecian cavalry, and their Oriental pomp. Immediately succeeding the "death of Alexander, Judea came into the possession of Laomedon, one of his generals. On his defeat, Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, attempted to seize the whole of Syria. He advanced against Jerusalem, assaulted it on the Sabbath, and met with no resistance, the superstitious Jews scrupling to violate the holy day, even in self-defense. The conqueror carried away 100,000 captives, whom he settled chiefly in Alexandria and Cyrene. In a short time,following a more humane policy, he endeavored to attach the Jewish people to his cause, enrolled an army of 30,000 men, and entrusted the chief garrisons of the country to their care. Syria and Judea did not escape the dreadful anarchy which ensued during the destructive warfare waged by the generals and successors of Alexander. Twice these provinces fell into the hands of Antigonus, and twice were regained by Ptolemy, to whose share they were finally adjudged after the decisive defeat of Antigonus at lpsus. The maritime towns, Tyre, Joppa and Gaza, were the chief points of contention: Jerusalem itself seems to have escaped the horrors of war. During this dangerous period Onias, the high priest, administered the public, affairs for twenty-one years. He was succeeded, the year after the battle of lpsus, by Simon the Just, a pontiff on whom Jewish tradition dwells with peculiar attachment. His death was the commencement of peril and disaster, announced, say the Rabbies, by the most alarming prodigies. The sacrifices, which were always favorably accepted during his life, at his death became uncertain or unfavorable. The scape goat, which used to be thrown from a rook, and to be dashed immediately to pieces, escaped (a fearful omen) into the desert. The great west light of the golden chandelier no longer burnt with a steady flame; sometimes it was extinguished. The sacrificial fire languished; the sacrificial bread failed, so as not to suffice, as formerly, for the whole priesthood.''-Milman.
"Palestine was subject to the first five Ptolemies of Egypt about a century, B.C. 301-198. Simon the Just was succeeded by his brother Eleazar, his son, Onias being under age (B.C. 292-251). His long rule seems to have been profoundly tranquil, under the mild governments of Ptolemy I., Soter (the son of Lagus), and Ptolemy II., Philadelphus, who succeeded his father in B. C. 285 and reigned till B.C. 247."-W. Smith.
About this time the translation of the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) was undertaken, under the auspices of Ptolemy Philadelphus, at Alexandria. Whether it was to gratify the king by enriching his library, and thereby adding to his fame and the gratification of learned men in that age of the world; or whether it was brought about by the combined efforts of the Jews in Alexandria and throughout the kingdom of Ptolemy, history does not authentically inform us. There are many unreasonable and fabulous statements made in regard to the matter. We may reasonably suppose, however, that the vast number of Jews scattered among the nations even at that period, who spoke the Greek language, so prevalent in the world, wanted a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek tongue. At any rate, it is said that seventy men, noted for learning, were selected to perform this work, and did so, since which time it has been called the translation of the lxx., or Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, and remains the Old Testament of the Greek "church" to this very day. There was a revival of learning about this period, and Alexandria was noted for her learned men. In that fostering atmosphere there sprang up those influences which she exercised, over the Jewish church, and the Jewish over the Christian church and professed Christian church for two thousand years.
Learned men have pronounced this translation very inaccurate, and yet perhaps no translation was ever more popular with the people. It was in use among the Jews at the time of our Savior's appearance on earth, and was quoted by Him and His Apostles, evangelists, and early followers, and no scholastic, criticism has been able to gain foothold against such a Divine sanction as that. The New Testament writers correct the Septuagint by the Hebrew when needful.
Most of the books called Apocryphal were written between the return from the Babylonish captivity and the Christian era, and form a sort of appendix to the Jewish Scriptures, and aid to some extent in filling that blank which would otherwise exist for 400 years of the Mosaic dispensation.
Antiochits IV., Epiphanes,* king of Syria, B.C. 175, became one of the most cruel oppressors the Jews had ever met with. He wished to Grecianize everything- names, places, fashions, religion and all. He acted like a madman. He attempted to exterminate the religion of the Jews, and substitute that of the Greeks. At one time he approached "Jerusalem, took it without much resistance, put to death in three days' time 40,000 of the inhabitants, and seized as many more to be sold as slaves. He entered every part of the temple, pillaged the treasury, seized all the sacred utensils, the golden candlestick, the table of show-bread, the altar of incense, and thus collected a booty to the amount of 1,800 talents (about three million dollars). He then commanded a great sow to be sacrificed on the altar of burnt offerings, part of the flesh to be boiled, and the liquor from the unclean animal to be sprinkled over every part of the temple; and thus desecrated with the most odious defilement the sacred place, which the Jews had considered for centuries the one holy spot in all the universe. Menelaus retained the dignity of High Priest; but two foreign officers, Philip, a Phrygian, and Andronicus, were made Governors of Jerusalem and Samaria." He designed the entire destruction of the Jewish race, when, in two years after this unhallowed course, he authorized one Apollonius to carry into execution his design with cruel dispatch. "Apollonius waited until the Sabbath, when the whole people were occupied in their religious duties. He then let loose his soldiers against the unresisting multitude, slew all the men, till the streets ran with blood, and seized all the women as captives. He proceeded to pillage and then to dismantle the city, which he set on fire in many places; he threw down the walls, and built a strong fortress on the highest part of Mount Zion, which commanded the temple and all the rest of the city. From this garrison he harassed all the people of the country, who stole in with fond attachment to visit the ruins, or offer a hasty and interrupted worship in the place of the sanctuary; for all the public services had ceased, and no voice of adoration was heard in the holy city, unless of the profane heathen calling on their idols. The persecution did not end here. Antiochus issued an edict for uniformity of worship throughout his dominions, and despatched officers into all parts to enforce rigid compliance with the decree. This office in the district of Judea and Samaria was assigned to Athenaeus, an aged man, who was well versed in the ceremonies and usages of the Grecian religion. The Samaritans, according to the Jewish account, by whom they are represented as always asserting their Jewish lineage when it seemed to their advantage, and their Median descent when they hoped thereby to escape any immediate danger, yielded at once; and the temple on Gerizim was formally consecrated to Jupiter Xenius. Athenaeus, having been so far successful, proceeded to Jerusalem, where with the assistance of the garrison he prohibited and suppressed every observance of the Jewish religion, forced the people to profane the Sabbath, to eat swine's flesh and other unclean food, and expressly forbade the national rite of circumcision. The temple was dedicated to Jupiter Olympius; the statue of that deity erected on part of the altar of burnt offerings, and sacrifice duly performed. Two women, who had circumcised their children, were led round the city with the babes hanging at their breasts, and then cast headlong from the wall; and many more of those barbarities committed, which, as it were, escape the reprobation of posterity from their excessive atrocity. Cruelties too horrible to be related, sometimes, for that very reason, do not meet with the detestation they deserve. Among other martyrdoms, Jewish tradition dwells with honest pride upon that of Eleazar, an aged scribe, ninety years old, who determined to leave a notable example to such as be young to die willingly and courageously for the honorable and holy laws; and that of the seven brethren who, encouraged by their mother, rejected the most splendid offers, and confronted the most excruciating torments rather than infringe the law. From Jerusalem the persecution spread throughout the country: in every city the same barbarities were executed, the same profanations introduced; and, as a last insult, the feast of the Bacchanalia, the license of which, as these feasts were celebrated in the later ages of Greece shocked the severe virtue of the older Romans, was substituted for the national festival of tabernacles. The reluctant Jews were forced to join in these riotous orgies, and carry the ivy, the insignia of the god. So near was the Jewish nation, and the worship of Jehovah, to total extermination"-Milman.
*Epiphanes means illlustrious; he was, by way of parody, surnamed by others Epimanes, the Insane.
Many have been the scenes described in ancient and modern history, where the people of the Most High God have suffered persecution purely for conscience’ sake, but we believe very few have surpassed in enormity that which they suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes about 167 years before the Christian era. There was no insubordination, no revolt, no political pretext, for this cruelty toward his own peaceable subjects, but simply a determination to destroy the visible signs of God's worshipers or destroy the people themselves! Antiochus Epiphanes died at Tabae, in Persia, B.C. 164, of a most horrible and loathsome, disease of the bowels, it is said, eaten alive with worms, emitting an intolerable odor, acknowledging that his illness was sent upon him by the God of Israel for his cruelty and sacrilege, and becoming raving mad before he breathed his last.
It seems to be a matter worthy of note that while the successors of Alexander who ruled in Egypt were generally mild in their dealings with the Jews in Palestine; those who ruled in Antioch were almost invariably cruel and oppressive toward them.
Before the final extinction of the Jews and their worship God raised up their deliverers in their very midst, who by natural means resisted this "abomination of desolation," took up arms against the mighty power of the Syrian monarch, and finally gained their independence so far as to be permitted to worship the God of their fathers as in days of old. Jehovah did not in a miraculous way destroy their enemies and give them relief, but He did it by raising up a certain individual and his five sons, who, by holy zeal, bravery, stratagem, and true wisdom, discomfited large armies, crippled the resources of their great adversary, and secured peace.
In the town of Modin, in Palestine, fifteen miles West of Jerusalem, there lived a man by the name of Mattathias, who had five sons by the names of Johanan, Simon, Judas, Eleazar and Jonathan. When Apelles, the officer of king Antiochus, came to Modin to enforce idolatry on the citizens, he manifested great regard for Mattathias, and made him splendid offers to propitiate his favor, and secure his influence in carrying the edict of Antiochus into execution. Mattathias refused his offers, and declared his determination to live and die in the faith of his fathers.
While viewing, with holy indignation, the sacrifices offered to the heathen deity, he espied an, apostate Jew officiating at the altar; this was more than he could bear to behold. Like Phineas of old, in a transport of zeal for the cause of God, he struck the offender dead upon the altar, and then turned upon Apelles, the king's commissioner, and slew him. Here was a conflict raised single-handed with the mighty potentate at Antioch, and Mattathias prepared himself for the struggle. He called together his five sons and as many as had sufficient zeal to do so to follow him, and be retired at once to the mountains. His forces rapidly increased, but a thousand of them were surprised and destroyed by the Syrian troops on a Sabbath day- because the Jews would not fight on that day. Mattathias, therefore, resolved henceforward not to regard the Sabbath day in war, but to defend himself on that day as well as on any other. "The insurgents conducted their revolt with equal enterprise and discretion. For a time they lay hid in the mountain fastnesses; and, as opportunity occurred, poured down upon the towns, destroyed the heathen altars, enforced circumcision, punished all apostates who fell into their hands, recovered many copies of the law, which their enemies had wantonly defaced, and re-established the synagogues for public worship, the temple being defiled and in possession of the enemy. Their ranks were swelled with the zealots for the law, who were then called the Chassidim. For, immediately after the return from Babylonia, two sects had divided the people; the Zadikim, the righteous, who observed the written law of Moses, and the more austere and abstemious Chassidim, or the holy, who added to the law the traditions and observances of the fathers, and professed a holiness beyond the letter of the covenant. From the former sprung the Caraites and Sadducees of later times; from the latter, the Pharisees. But the age of Mattathias was ill suited to this laborious and enterprising warfare; having bequeathed the command to Judas, the most valiant of his sons, he sank under the weight of years and toil. So great already was the terror of his name that he was buried, without disturbance on the part of the enemy, in his native city of Modin."-Milman.
The youthful general added vigor and enterprise to the cause, without lessening the prudence and skill which had hitherto attended it.
Judas unfurled the banner of the "Maccabees," the reason of which name is involved in obscurity, but under which he and his brothers fought, and their names became famous on earth. One succeeded another until the whole of them disappeared, without reproach, from the scenes of earth. They governed Judea for about sixty years, and then their descendants for seventy years longer (until 37 B.C.).
The rulers in Judea were much troubled, about 100 years B.C., with dissensions, of a religious character, in their midst. The controversy between Pharisees and Sadducees increased, and the more rapidly as peace prevailed between Judea and other nations. Their views were quite opposite. "The Pharisees were moderate predestinarians; the Sadducees asserted free will. The Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul and the existence of angels, though their creed on both these subjects was strongly tinged with Orientalism. The Sadducees denied both. The Pharisees received not merely the prophets, but the traditional law, likewise, as of equal authority with the books of Moses. The Sadducees, if they did not reject, considered the prophets greatly inferior to the law. The Sadducees are said to have derived their doctrine from Sadoc, the successor of Antigonus Socho in the presidency of the great Sanhedrim. Antigonus taught the lofty doctrine of pure and disinterested love and obedience to God, without regard to punishment or reward. Sadoc is said to have denied the latter, without maintaining the higher doctrine on which it was founded. Still, the Sadducees are far from what they are sometimes represented, the teachers of a loose and indulgent E Epicureanism; they inculcated the belief in Divine Providence, and the just and certain administration of temporal rewards and punishments.
"The Pharisees had the multitude, ever led away by extravagant religious pretensions, entirely at their disposal: Sadduceeism spread chiefly among the higher orders. It would be unjust to the Sadducees to confound them with that unpatriotic and Hellenized party, which, during the whole of the noble struggles of the Maccabees, sided with the Syrian oppressors, for these are denounced as avowed apostates from Judaism; yet probably, after the establishment of the independent government, the latter might make common cause and become gradually mingled up with the Sadduceean party, as exposed alike to the severities of Pharisaic administration. During the rest of the Jewish history we shall find these parties as violently opposed to each other, and sometimes causing as fierce and dangerous dissensions as those which rent the commonwealths of Greece and Rome or the republican states of modern Europe. It was at the close of his reign that Hyrcanus broke with the Pharisaic party, and openly joined the opposite faction; a measure of which the disastrous consequences were not entirely felt till the reign of his son, Alexander."-Milman. Hyreanus reigned twenty-nine years, and was an able, faithful and successful ruler.
Judas, whose Greek name was Aristobulus (son of Hyrcanus), succeeded his father in the year 106 B.C., gained the character of the "Lover of the Greeks," and won the admiration of Gentile writers by his moderation towards them, and by the energy with which as his father had incorporated the Edomites on the south, so he conquered and absorbed the Ituraean borderers on the north. He lived but a year in office, and that was a year of crime and misery. He imprisoned his mother, and starved her to death; and imprisoned three of his brothers, and had one of them slain. But that for which he was chiefly remembered was that he was the first of his family to assume the regal title and diadem, B.C. 106. Once more there was a "king in Israel," but bearing the name unknown before and to acquire before long a solemn significance, "King of the Jews." "It was still, however, as high priest that he reigned, and it was not till his brother, Jonathan, mounted the throne, under the name of Alexander, that the coins alternately bear the names of Jonathan, the high priest (or, more rarely, the king) in Hebrew, and Alexander, the king, in Greek. In common parlance he was known by the two names combined, Alexander Jannaeus."
Alexander, after an unquiet and eventful reign of twenty-seven years, departed this life, and his widow, Alexandra, succeeded him, and became first "Queen of the Jews," B.C. 78. Upon his recommendation before his decease, she threw herself upon the protection chiefly of the Pharisees, as the most powerful and influential, as well as the most turbulent, of the sects. Alexandra reigned prosperously for nine years, and then fell sick and died. The Pharisees, emboldened by the favors shown them in her time, began to persecute the opposing sects. Her first son, Hyrcanus II., had been made high priest during her reign, while her second son, Aristobulus, a man of daring and intrigue, succeeded in placing himself at the head of the weaker party, the Sadducees, and finally at the head of the army outside of Jerusalem, and upon his mother's death sought to make himself master of the place. He marched against it, but was opposed by the Pharisees within, and his brother, Hyrcanus II., as high priest, at their head. He, however, succeeded in obtaining possession of the city, and his brother, the high priest, yielded his claims and agreed to return to private life, B.C. 69. This blow, for a season, was fatal to the Pharisaic party. The time had now arrived when commotion succeeded commotion, by the turbulence of the three sects into which the Jews were divided, viz.: Pharisees, Sadducees and Essones,* the latter being much more quiet and retired than the other two. But there was another enemy to arise which would be more dangerous to the Asmonean house than the Pharisees. Antipater, the father of Herod, an Idumenean of noble birth, was the son of Antipas, who had been governor of that province under Alexander Jannaeus. He had influence over Hyrcanus, and induced him to seek the protection and aid of Aretas, king of Arabia; so that Aristobulus soon found himself assailed by 50,000 men- Aretas, Antipater and Hyrcanus at their head, B.C. 65. He was defeated and fled to Jerusalem, where he was unsupported by the people, and shut himself up in the temple and prepared for defense. A deliverer at length arose in the person of the Roman general, Pompey, who ordered the siege to be raised, and summoned both Aristobulus and Hyrcanus to appear before him at Damascus that he might decide the matter between them, B.C. 63. When the time of hearing the cause came on, representatives of Aristobulus, Hyrcanus and the Jewish people stood before Pompey, each complaining of the other. The people charged both the brothers as having usurped the prerogatives of high priests and tyrannized over them, and they therefore wished the kingly office entirely set aside. Pompey dismissed the parties courteously, without deciding in favor of either.
*This name is said to mean silent or mysterious. The sect existed from about 110 B.C. to A.D. 70. Josephus estimates their number at about 4,000. Their chief settlement was a large agricultural billage in some highly cultivated oases amid the wilderness on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. They had a few other scattered communities throughout Palestine. Their creed was mainly that of the Parisees, but their practice was even more rigorous. With Parisaism they combined stoicism, asceticism, monasticism, celibacy and puritanism. They held all property in common, and were said to be temperate, industrious, charitable, opposed to all oaths, slavery, and war, and commerce.
Aristobulus returned home, and, suspecting the goodness of his cause at court, endeavored to put his country in a state of defense. Pompey, after a while, began to assume a higher tone. He marched into Judea, and, after a stern resistance, entered Jerusalem, B.C. 57, and went himself into the Holy of Holies,* to the great horror of the Jews, and so, to their astonishment, carried off none of the treasures of the temple. He appointed Hyrcanus high priest without the regal authority- levied his tribute on the people, and departed with Aristobulus, his two sons and two daughters, designed to adorn his triumphal march into Rome.
* It is said that Pompey wondered that he found no image of the Deity in the temple-the Pagans were accustomed to having and worshiping images of their gods.
The Romans, having deprived the High Priest of all royal authority, established, in five different cities, five independent Senates or Sanhedrims, according to the form of the great Sanhedrim of seventy one, which perhaps had existed from the captivity. The places where the Sanhedrims sat were Jerusalem, Jericho, Gadara, Amathus and Sepphoris. This form of government lasted until Julius Caesar reinvested Hyrcanus with the supreme dignity, B.C. 44.
During the great civil war in Rome the fate of Judea, like that of nearly all other nations, hung in trembling suspense. After the death of Pompey the prudent Antipater rendered Ceasar essential service in his campaign in Egypt in favor of Cleopatra, and was rewarded with the full rites of Roman citizenship for himself, and (B.C. 47) the appointment of procurator or governor over the whole of Judea; also the full. re-establishment of Hyrcanus in the high priesthood. Antipater, still further presuming on the favor of Rome, proceeded to appoint his elder son Phasael to the government of Jerusalem, and the younger Herod to that of Galilee, B.C. 47. Herod soon began to develop his natural decision and severity of character. He arrested robbers and destroyed them without trial, and set at naught the authorities in Jerusalem. When brought before the Sanhedrim he appeared in arms, and by affrighting them escaped punishment. Only one man, Sameas, dared even to rebuke him; and, strange to say, when he afterward slew the other members of the Sanhedrim, he spared this man Sameas. He afterward obtained by a bribe the military command of Coele-Syria, and advanced against Jerusalem; but, by the intervention of his father, withdrew his forces.
Upon the death of Ceasar, Capias assumed the administration of Syria, B.C. 43. Judea was heavily oppressed every way, and the taxes were so exorbitant that the whole population of some towns were sold as slaves to raise tribute.
Herod was ever dexterous and bold. After the great battle at Philippi Herod made his approaches to the rising sun, and obtained the favor of Mark Antony. Antipater had been poisoned by Malichus to prevent the rising and then powerful Idumenean influence in Judea.
"An unexpected enemy arose, to trouble again the peace of Judea. At this juncture the Parthians under Pacorus, the king's son, entered Syria and Asia Minor, and overran the whole region. A part of their army, under Barzapharnes, took possession of Coele-Syria. Antigonus, the last remaining branch of the Asmonean race, determined to risk his fortune in the desperate hazard of Parthian protection; he offered 1,000 talents and 500 Jewish women- a strange compact- as the price of his restoration to the Jewish kingdom. Antigonus himself raised a considerable native power and entered Judea, followed by Pacorus, the cup-bearer of the king, who had the same name with the king's son. Antigonus fought his way to Jerusalem, and, by means of his party, entered the city. Jerusalem was torn asunder by the contending factions; and the multitudes who came up at the feast of Pentecost, adopting different parties, added to the fierce hostility and mutual slaughter. The Antigonians held the temple, the Hyrcanians the palace, and, daily contests taking place, the streets ran with blood. Antigonus at length invidiously proposed to submit their mutual differences to the arbitration of Pacorus, the Parthian general. Phasael weakly consented; and Pacorus, admitted within the town, prevailed on the infatuated Phasael to undertake a journey with Hyrcanus, and submit the cause to Barzapharnes, the commander in chief. He set forth on this ill-fated expedition, and was at first received with courtesy; the plan of the Parthians being to abstain from violence till they had seized Herod, who, having vainly remonstrated with his brother on his imprudence, remained in the city. But the crafty Herod, receiving warning from his brother, whose suspicions had been too late awakened, fled with the female part of the family toward Masada. The journey was extremely dangerous, and at one time Herod, in despair, had almost attempted his own life. At Masada, a strong fortress on the west shore of the Dead Sea, he received succor brought by his brother Joseph from Idumea; him he left in command at Masada, and retired himself into Arabia, from thence to Egypt, and at length to Rome. In the meantime Hyrcanus and Phasael had been made prisoners; the former, Antigonus not wishing to put him to death, was incapacitated forever from the office of High Priest by the mutilation of his ears. Phasael anticipated the executioner by beating his brains out against the wall of his prison."- Milman.
The Parthians plundered the city of Jerusalem and ravaged the country, notwithstanding their alliance with Antigonus. Herod, in the meantime, gained favor at Rome beyond his expectations, and Angustus and Antony united in conferring the crown upon him, 40 years B.C. He returned at once to Palestine, raised a force, rescued his brother and bride, who were shut up in the fortress of Masada, and reduced to great extremities by the besieging army of Antigonus, and, overrunning Galilee, at length sat down before Jerusalem. Silo, a Roman general who was acting with Herod, proved treacherous, and retired from before Jerusalem, and Herod was compelled to do the same.
Herod fixed his headquarters at Samaria, and contented himself with destroying robbers, B.C. 39. The next year, with Roman auxiliaries, he made another attack on Jerusalem, and was defeated. He retired to make his complaints to Antony at Samosata, and, while absent, his brother risked a battle, against Herod's advice, with the forces of Antigonus, and was killed. Herod on his return avenged the death of his brother Joseph by the total discomfiture of Pappus, the general of Antigonus. In the spring of the next year, B.C. 87, he formed the regular siege of Jerusalem; during the siege he returned to Samaria to consummate his marriage with Mariamne, the beautiful granddaughter both of Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. By this marriage he formed an intimate connection with the line of the Asmonean princes, and he hastened to secure his throne by the conquest of the capital. Jerusalem held out for above half a year, but was finally taken by the Roman army under Sosius. Great cruelties were inflicted on the people, and much injury done to the town by the exasperated Roman soldiery, even against the expostulations of Herod himself, who did not wish to be left king over a desert. Antigonus was sent to Antony at Antioch and slain. Herod was fairly installed, by the authority of Rome, king of Judea, B.C. 37.
This was that Herod the Great who swayed the sceptre over Jerusalem and Palestine till after the birth of our Savior.
He did more by far for the outward improvement of the cities, towns and fortresses of Palestine than any other king or ruler since the captivity. He thoroughly repaired and greatly enlarged and adorned the temple of Zerubbabel at Jerusalem. He was upheld by the great power of Rome, and, while adding to his own fortune, he added to the wealth and ornament of his country. But he was one of the most jealous and vindictive of men in all his private relations, and cruel to the last degree toward all whom he suspected of designs on his crown or disobedience to his authority. He had ten wives and fourteen children. The particulars of his reign might be traced, year by year, down to the period of big death, but they are so revolting, so cruel, and bloodthirsty, that the reader might as well be spared the shocking perusal. Suffice it to say that in addition to the vast number of murders committed by him during a long, unbroken reign of over forty years, may be mentioned that of his beautiful and noble wife Mariamne, her grandfather, father, brother, uncle, and two of her sons, most noble youths, who were his own children, who were educated at Rome, and unsurpassed in promise by any in the land. All these were accused of treasonable designs toward him, without any foundation in truth. He himself arraigned before Ceasar his two sons for trial, and took the lead in person to manage the case with all imaginable and unnatural hatred. No wonder then that such a monster in human shape should play off his hypocrisy with the wise men of the East, and, so soon as the birth of a "King of the Jews" was announced to him, send forth and slay all the children in Bethlehem from two years old and under, in order to include that one who, he supposed, would aspire to his throne. Neither need we wonder that a king so steeped in human blood, and so fully convinced that the execrations of an outraged people were resting on him, should, in order to make the people mourn, instead of rejoicing, at his death, order some of the principal men in every family in the land shut up in prison, so that an executioner should be ready at the announcement of his own death to slay them also. The innocents were slain in the last year of his life, it is supposed. And the last public act of his life was to order the execution of his son Antipater, who was in prison, and who, it was said, had attempted to bribe the keeper to let him out. He was slain just five days before his father's death. Herod for a long time was awfully afflicted both in body and mind; he was haunted with dreadful forebodings and distressing dreams, and yet nothing appeared to soften his, stony heart or cause him to relent or repent for one hour. His conscience was seared, and failed to admonish or have any government over his mind. He lived to be seventy years of age, having been king of Jerusalem thirty-seven years, and died a few years before the Passover, B.C. 4, at Jericho, after suffering the most horrible agonies, mental and physical. Josephus states that he had fever, and an intolerable itching over all his body, and intestinal inflammation, and dropsy, and worms, and putrefaction. God thus gave the inhuman monster a fore-taste of the awful and eternal retribution awaiting him beyond the grave.
Sadly, indeed, does the Old Dispensation close, with such a ruler over Israel as was Herod the Great. The nation was, for the most part, demoralized, and but little better than their ruler; yet in them were found the seed royal and a remnant according to the election of grace.
Thus we have endeavored to notice some things connected with a certain race of men from Adam to the coming of Christ, a period, according to the common chronology, of 4,004 years. The record shows what sin has done for our race, and also what grace has done. Where sin abounded, grace, when applied, has much more abounded, because it hath in every instance gained the victory. One of the most prominent features of Old Testament history is the numerous wars therein stated to have been waged since the Fall. The first man born slew his brother, and brother has been slaying brother from that day to this. The proneness to war and the worship of idols seem to predominate in the human mind, and such is the frequent occurrence of them in history that the heart almost sickens at their perusal. Yet it need not, for the same working is in the hearts of all men (even now) untouched by grace, and we only read of ourselves when we read of others. "The human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" While darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people, the Lord has arisen upon some few and His glory has been seen upon them. The spiritual family of God have been few in all ages as compared with fleshly professors and open reprobates. God's people are always chosen in the furnace of affliction, and in this world must suffer tribulation. We have noticed the suffering and faith of the people of God in the Old Testament dispensation, and the same will compare favorably with the New. The Apostle, in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, enumerates many who lived and died in the faith under the Old Dispensation, and thereby from a cloud of witnesses encourages the hearts of many professing Christianity to hold out faithful to the end of their earthly pilgrimage.
Those specially mentioned by him are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David and Samuel, who, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, etc., etc. Surely, Faith overcomes the world.
After the captivity there were added to the books of the Old Testament the prophecies and lamentations of Jeremiah, the prophecies of Ezekiel, the books of Ezra, and Nehemiah, and the prophecies of Daniel, Habakkuk, Zechariah and Malachi. These completed the sacred canon, which then consisted of thirty-nine books, now arranged in the following order, viz:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, First and Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes , and Song of Solomon; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
These books were held sacred and considered authoritative and divinely inspired, and handed down by the Jews from generation to generation to the days of our Savior. He accepted this canon as the embodiment of the Scriptures and the authoritative word of God. He commanded men to search them. He quoted them in His teachings; and all the writers in the New Testament quoted and referred to them as the Scriptures of Divine truth and the sacred oracles of God, from which there was no appeal. Paul says of them in his epistle to Timoth : " The holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," These are the Scriptures which the Apostles carried with them into all the world when they went forth preaching the gospel to every creature, and these are the Scriptures out of which they reasoned, in order to bring men to the obedience of faith.
They were the only rule of faith and practice to the church from Malachi to the Christian era, a period of about 400 years, and- until the twenty-seven inspired books of the New Testament were added to them, which completed the whole volume of inspiration- God's authoritative and revealed word, contained in what is generally known as the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
As we have now arrived at the close of the Old Dispensation, it will be proper to include some remarks upon its gereral character, and its relation to the New or Christian Dispensation.
There are in the New Testament, in addition to numberless allusions, about two hundred and sixty direct quotations from the Old Testament, or about one for every chapter of the former. It was a wise remark of Augustine, In Vetere Testamento Novum latet, et in Novo Vetus patet,- In the Old Testament the New is concealed, and in the New the Old is revealed. The Old was the type, and the New the antitype. "There was a pre ordained connection between the two. The antitypical realities of the gospel were the ultimate objects contemplated by the mind of God in establishing the types of the old economy. To prepare the way for the introduction of these ultimate objects He placed the church under a course of instruction by types, or designed and fitting resemblances of what was to come in ‘the ends of the world,’ or ‘fullness of the times,’ or the gospel age. The church of the Old Testament was in a state of comparative childhood, supplied only with such means of instruction, and subjected to such methods of discipline, as were suited to so imperfect and provisional a period of her being. This instruction and discipline, however, should not be regarded as employed simply for the sake of those who lived during its continuance. While primarily and wisely adapted to them, it was also fitted, and indeed chiefly designed, to tell with beneficial effect on the spiritual life of the church in her more advanced state of existence. The man of mature age, when pursuing his way amid the perplexing cares and busy avocations of life, finds himself continually indebted to the lessons he was taught and the skill he acquired during the period of his early culture. And, in like manner, it was undoubtedly God's intention that His method of procedure toward the church in her state of minority not only should minister what was needed for her immediate instruction and improvement, but should also furnish materials of edification and comfort for believers to the end of time. In both Test- aments there are the same great elements of truth; in the Old these were exhibited in a form more level to the comprehension of immature minds. The Mosaic ritual had at once a shell and a kernel; its shell, the outward rights and observances it enjoined; its kernel, the spiritual relations which these indicated, and the spiritual truths which they embodied and expressed. The symbolical institutions of the Old Testament were shadows of the better things of the gospel (Col. ii. 17; Heb. viii. 5; x.1); that is, they were obscure and imperfect resemblances of the same Divine truths. By means of an earthly tabernacle, with its appropriate services, God manifested toward His people the same principles of government, and required from them substantially the same disposition and character that He does now under the higher dispensation of the gospel. For, look beyond the more outward diversities, and what do you see? You see in both alike a pure and holy God, enshrined in the recesses of a glorious sanctuary, unapproachable by sinful flesh but through a medium of powerful intercession and cleansing efficacy; yet, when so approached, ever ready to receive and bless with the richest tokens of His favor and loving kindness as many as come in the exercise of genuine contrition for sin, and longing for restored fellowship with Him whom they have offended. The same description applies equally to the service of both dispensations; for in both the same impressions are conveyed of God's character respecting sin and holiness, and the same gracious feelings necessarily awakened by them in the bosom of sincere worshipers. But, then, as to the means of accomplishing this, there was only in the one case a shadowy exhibition of spiritual things through earthly materials and temporary expedients; while, in the other, the naked realities appear in the one perfect sacrifice of Christ, the rich endowments of the Spirit of grace, and the glories of an everlasting kingdom. The religious institutions of earlier times contained only the rudiments or elements of religious truth and life. The church, while under these ordinances, is said to have been ‘in bondage under the elements of the world’ (Gal. iv. 3). The expression in Galatians iii. 24, ‘the law was our pedagogue to bring us to Christ,’ conveys much the same idea; since it was the special business of the ancient pedagogue to train the youth to proper habits, and, without himself imparting more than the merest elements of learning, to conduct him to those who were qualified to give it. The law did this for such as were placed under it, by means of its symbolical institutions and ordinances, which at once conveyed to the understanding a measure of instruction, and trained and disciplined the will. It was from its very nature imperfect, and pointed to something higher and better. Believers were kept by it in a kind of bondage, but one which, by its formative and elevating character, was ever ripening its subjects for a state in which it should no more be needed. But the most of national lsrael, being unspiritual, soon perverted these local, earthly, outward, imperfect ordinances into formality, carnality and corruption. God, therefore, destroyed the outward by the hand of the king of Babylon, and drove national Israel afar from the scenes of her long idolatry. The times of Daniel and the captivity formed, in some degree, the turning-point from the Old to the New, and thenceforward the one was continually shading into the other. God thus spiritualized and elevated the ideas which the Israelites entertained of Divine things, and prepared a gracious remnant for the far more spiritual and elevating teachings of Christ and His Apostles. When the veil was rent in twain, abolishing the distinction at the centre, all others of an outward kind necessarily gave way. When the great High Priest had fulfilled His work, no work remained to be done by any other priest. The gospel of shadows was conclusively gone, and the gospel of realities come. And the compliances which the Apostles generally, and Paul himself latterly, made (Acts xxi.) to humor the prejudices and silence the senseless clamors of the Jews, though necessary at first, were yet carried to an undue and dangerous length. They palpably failed, in Paul's case, to accomplish the end in view; and, in the case of the Jewish Christians themselves, were attended with jealousies, self -righteous bigotry, growing feebleness and ultimate decay. ‘Before Messiah's coming, the ceremonies were as the swaddling hands in which He was wrapt; but, after it, they resembled the linen clothes which He left in the grave. Christ was in the one, but not in the other.’ The apostate Romish church, being unspiritual, like the majority of national Israel, at an early period mistook the means for the end, embraced the shadow for the substance, converted what had been set up for the express purpose of leading men to Christ, into a mighty stumbling-block to obstruct the way of their approach to Him, fell back, by a retrograde movement, from the high, mature, inward and spiritual, to the low, childish, outward and natural. By that great apostasy everything was gradually carried back from the apostolic ideal of a spiritual community, founded on the perfect atonement and priesthood of Christ, to the outwardness and ritualism of ancient times. The sacrifices of the laws, it was thought, must have their correspondence in the offering of the Eucharist; and, as every sacrificial offering must have a priest to present it, so the priesthood of the Old Covenant, determined by genealogical descent, must find its substitute in a priesthood determined by apostolical succession. It was but a step further, and one quite natural in the circumstances, to hold, that as the ancient hierarchy culminated in a High Priest at Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, so the Christian hierarchy must have a similar culmination in the Bishop of Rome, the capital of the world. In these and many similar applications of Old Testament things to the ceremonial institutions and devices of Romanism, there is a substantial perpetuation of the Judaizing error of apostolic times- an adherence to the oldness and carnality of the letter, after the spiritual life and more elevated standing of the New have come. According to it, everything in Christianity, as well as in Judaism, is made to turn upon formal distinctions and ritual observances; and that not the less because of a certain introduction of the higher element, as in the substitution of apostolical succession and the impressed character of the new priesthood, for the genealogical descent and family relationship of the old. Such slight alterations only affect the mode of getting at the outward things established, but leave the outwardness itself unaffected; they are of no practical avail in lifting Christianity above the old Judaistic level. The whole movement was a retrogradation to the weak and beggarly elements which in earlier times had proved the constant source of imperfection and failure, and from which the church of the New Testament should have counted it her distinctive privilege to be free (Gal. v. 1). Instead of the common priesthood of believing souls anointed by the Spirit of holiness, and dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, a select priesthood of artificial distinctions and formal service were constituted the chief depositories of grace and virtue; instead of the simple manifestation of the truth to the heart, there came the muffled drapery of symbolical rites and bodily ministrations; and for the patient endurance of evil, or the earnest endeavor to overcome it with good, resort was had to the violence of the sword, and the coercive measures of arbitrary power. Strange delusion! As if the mere form and shadow of the truth were mightier than the truth itself- or the circumstantial adjuncts of the faith were of more worth than its essential attributes- or the crouching dread and enforced subjection of bondmen were a sacrifice to God more acceptable than the childlike and ready obedience of loving hearts! Such a depravation of the spirit of the gospel could not fail to carry its own curse and judgment along with it; and history leaves no room to doubt that, as men's views went out in this false direction, the tide of carnality and corruption flowed in; the professed Christian theocracy, as of old the Jewish, was carried captive by the world; the pretended spouse became an harlot. "This mournful defection was descried from the outset, and in vivid colors was portrayed on the page of prophetic revelation, as a warning to the church to beware of compromising the truth of God, or attempting to seek the living among the dead (Dan. vii. 25; 2 Thess. ii.; I Tim. iv. 1-3; 2 Tim. iii. 1-5; iv. 3, 4; 1 John ii. 18; Rev. xiii. 1-18; xvii.). What constitutes the peculiar glory of the gospel, and should ever have been regarded as forming the main secret of its strength, is the extent to which its tidings furnish an insight into the mind of God, and the power it confers on those who receive it to look as with open face into the realities of the Divine kingdom. Doing this in a manner altogether its own, it reaches the depths of thought and feeling in the bosom, takes possession of the inner man, and implants there a spirit of life, which works with sovereign power on the things around it, and casts aside, as being no longer needed, the external props and appliances that were required by the demands of a feebler age. For the kingdom established by the gospel is essentially spiritual- it is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; and when true to itself, and conducted in harmony with the mind of its Divine Head, it must ever give to the spiritual the ascendancy over the carnal, and look for its gradual extension and final triumph to the power and influence of the truth itself. The Spirit-endowed church of Christ is the true theocracy in its new, its higher, its perennial form; since it is that in which God peculiarly dwells, and with which He identifies His character and glory. Every individual member of this church, according to the proper idea of his calling, is a king and a priest to God; therefore, not in bondage to the world, nor dividing between the world and God, but recognizing God in all, honoring and obeying God, and receiving power, as a prince with God, to prevail over the opposition and wickedness of the world. Every particular church, in like manner, is, according to the idea of its calling, an organized conmmunity of such kings and priests;" therefore, subject, in religious and spiritual matters, to no earthly potentate or aristocracy, but only to the King of kings, feeling to be redeemed from iniquity by His precious blood, desiring to be found holy and without blame before Him in love, and praying that His kingdom should come, and His will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
Protestantism, which never cast off all the fatal errors of Romanism, and which has been gravitating back towards Romanism ever since its secession in the sixteenth century, in predicting the salvation of the sinner upon himself instead of upon God, makes the same fundamental mistake in its typology as that made by the Romanists, and noticed above. "Its carnality is continually betraying itself in a tendency to depress and lower the spiritual truths of the gospel to a conformity with the simple letter of Old Testament Scripture. The gospel is read not only through a Jewish medium, but also in a Jewish sense, and nothing but externals admitted in the New, wherever there is descried, in the form of the representation, any reference to such in the Old." The natural offspring of Abraham are said to represent the natural offspring of believers; circumcision is converted into infant baptism; the authority of the priesthood into the authority of "Mother Church;" the Hebrew theocracy into an alliance of church and state; the stoning of blasphemers into death of heretics by torture, fire and sword; the "fathers" and "reformers" are substituted for the Rabbins; and the lie is given to Christ, and inefficacy to His finished work, by robbing the church of its simplicity and spirituality, and loading it with dead materialism, formalism, traditionalism, sacramentalism and hierarchism.
One of the most fashionable Judaizing errors of the present day is the modern method of explaining away the New Testament doctrine of personal and eternal election. "The advocates of a modified Arminianism maintain that this doctrine is improperly understood of an appointment to personal salvation and eternal life, on the special ground that the election of the Jewish people was only their callling as a nation to outward privileges and a temporal inheritance. Rightly understood, however, this is rather a reason why election in the Christian sense should be made to embrace something higher and better, like all the other Old Testament types. For the proper counterpart under the gospel to those external relations of Judaism is the gift of grace and the heirship of glory- the lower in the one case shadowing the higher in the other- the outward and temporal representing the spiritual and eternal. Even Macknight, who cannot certainly be charged with any excess of the spiritual element in his interpretations, perceived the necessity of making, as he expresses it, ‘the natural seed the type of the spiritual, and the temporal blessings the emblems of the eternal.’ Hence he justly regards the outward professing church in one case, with its unconditional election to the earthly Canaan, as answering, in the other, to the invisible spiritual church, consisting of believers of all nations, with its unconditional election to the heavenly Canaan (Gen. xv. 18; Acts xiii. 48; Rom. viii. 29, 30; Eph. i. 3, 4; 1 Peter i. 1-5)." -P. Fairbairn, in Typology of Scripture.
All the Old Testament is one great type and prophecy, which finds and will find its full accomplishment in Jesus Christ. As He told His disciples both before and after His resurrection, "All things which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me, must be fulfilled" (Luke xxiv.44). "Think not," said He, in His sermon on the mount, "that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. v. 17). Said the angel to John, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. xix. 10). "Pure gold is not found in large masses; the value of the mass lies mostly in the small particles of the rich metal scattered through it." The golden vein of Messianic prophecy runs through the Old Testament Scriptures, and gives them a Divine unity; and the New Testament, with the same unity, describes the fulfillment of these predictions in Jesus of Nazareth, The Messiah (Dan. ix. 25, 26) was to be the seed of the woman (Gen. iii. 15), of the family of Shem (Gen. ix. 26), Abraham (Gen. xii. 2,3), Isaac, (Gen. xxi. 12), Jacob (Gen. xxviii. 14), Judah (Gen. xlix. 10), Jesse (Isaiah xi. 1-10) and David (Jer. xxxiii. 15). He was to be preceded by a messenger like Elijah (Mal. iii. 1; iv. 5), crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Isaiah xl. 3-5). He was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah vii. 14), in Bethlehem of Judea (Micah v. 2), just before the sceptre departed from Judah (Gen. xlix. 10), in the days of the fourth universal (Roman) empire (Daniel ii. 44), about 460 years after the issuing of the Persian king's decree for the restoration of Jerusalem (Daniel ix. 24-27; Numbers iv. 3; Luke iii. 23), and before the destruction of the second temple (Hag. ii. 6-9). (His earthly ministry must therefore have occurred more than 1,800 years ago; and, if it did not occur then, the Old Testament Scriptures must be false.) Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem (Gen. xxxv. 19), was poetically represented as weeping for her slaughtered children (Jer. xxxi. 15), and God was to call back His Son out of Egypt (Hosea xi. 1). That Son was to grow up before His Father as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground (Isaiah liii. 2). He was to be preeminently the Anointed One (Psalm ii. 2), a Prophet like Moses (Deut. xviii. 18), a Priest like Melchizedek (Psalm cx. 4), a King like David (Isa. ix. 7). He was to be the King of Zion (Psalm ii. 6; Zech. ix. 9), higher than the kings of the earth (Psalm lxxxix. 27), altogether lovely (Cant. v. 16); the Ruler of Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah v. 2); the Maker, Redeemer, and Shepherd of Israel (Isa. liv. 5; Ezek. xxxiv. 23-31); the Shiloh, or Peace-Giver (Gen. xlix. 10); He was to open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, make the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing (Isa. xxxv. 4-6); He was to have the law of His God in His heart, and delight to do His will, and to preach righteousness (Psalm xl. 6-10); He was to be the glory of Israel, and a light to the Gentiles (Isa. xlix. 6; lx. 1-3); the Star of Jacob and Sceptre of Israel, who should smite His foes, and have dominion (Num. xxix. 17, 19); the Sun of Righteousness, arising, with healing in His wings, unto all that fear the Lord (Mal. iv. 2); He was to be the Lord of the temple, the Messenger of the covenant (Mal. iii. 1); not only the son but the Lord of David (Psalm cx. 1); the Son of man (Dan. vii. 13), and yet the Son of God (Psalm ii. 2, 7, 12); a man and yet the fellow or equal of God (Zech. xiii. 7); identified with God (Zech. xii. 10); Immanuel, or God with us (Isa. vii. 14); the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. xxiii. 6); the Divine Redeemer who should stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job xix. 25-27); who was to come with dyed garments, glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save, treading the wine-press alone, perfectly able, without any help, to bring salvation to His redeemed, and to destroy all their enemies (Isa. lxiii. 1-9); the spiritual Zerubbabel who would make the great mountain a plain, lay the foundation of the Lord's house, and also finish it, bringing forth the headstone with shoutings of Grace, grace unto it (Zech. iv. 6-10); though a child born, a son given to us, yet Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace, of the increase of whose government and peace there should be no end (Isa. ix. 6, 7); His name to continue as long as the sun, and men to be blessed in Him (Psalm lxxii. 17); His dominion to be universal and eternal (Dan. vii. 14); His throne to be the throne of God, and endure forever and ever (Psalm xlv. 6, 7); and yet- wonderful, indded, according to His name- He was to be a servant of God, with visage more marred than any man (Isa. lii 13, 14); despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isa. liii.. 3); He was to come to Jerusalem, as a lowly king of righteousness and salvation, riding upon the foal of an ass (Zech. ix. 9); He was to be conspired against by the kings and rulers of the earth (Psalm ii. 2); though never guilty of fraud or violence (Isa. liii. 9), He was to be betrayed by His own familiar friend (Psalm xli. 9) for thirty pieces of silver, which should be given to the potter for a field to bury strangers in (Zech. xi. 12,13; Jer. vii. 32, 33; xix.; Matt. xxvii. 3-10); He was to be derided by His ungodly enemies (Psalm xxii. 6-8); and, having been made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Psalm viii. 5; Heb. ii. 9), and being doomed to have His heel bruised while He bruised the head of the serpent (Gen. iii. 15), He was to be numbered with the transgressors (Isa. liii. 12), and pierced by the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but be bitterly and privately mourned for by them, and open to them a fountain for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. xii. 10-14; xiii. 1); He was to have His hands and feet pierced, and His garments parted, and lots cast for His vesture (Psalm xxii. 16,18); be given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm lxix. 21); He was to be smitten by the sword of Divine Justice (Zech. xiii. 7), the sun being turned into darkness (Joel ii. 31; Amos viii. 9; Acts ii. 20); stricken for the transgression of His people (Isa. liii. 8); bruised, by God's appointment, for their iniquities (Isa. liii. 5); cut off, but not for Himself (Dan. ix. 26); make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in an everlasting righteousness (Dan. ix. 24); make intercession for the transgressors (liii.12); take from His people their filthy garments and clothe them with a change of rainment, and remove their iniquity in one day (Zech. iii. 1-10); by the blood of His covenant send forth His prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water (Zech. ix. 11); yield up His soul as an offering for sin (Isa. liii. 10); be forsaken of His God (Psalm xxii. 1); be with the rich in His death (Isa. liii. 9); not to see corruption (Psalm xvi. 10), but rise again the third day (Hos. vi. 2; Jonah i. 17), prolong His days, see His seed, and the pleasure of the Lord prosper in His hand (Isa. liii. 10); see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied, and by His knowledge justify many, because He shall have borne their iniquities (Isa. liii. 11); He should be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land (Isa. xxxii. 1, 2); He, should come down like rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth (Psalm lxxii. 6); not cry or lift up or cause His voice to be heard in the street, not break a bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax (Isa. xlii. 1-4); He should purify His people like gold and silver, that they might offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness (Mal. iii. 3); He should be anointed immeasurably with the Spirit of God (as His very name, Messiah, or Christ, indicates) to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn, to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified (Isa. Ixi. 1-3).
Now reflect that these prophecies, as given by God to His people, were scattered through a period of about thirty-six hundred years, so that, if there had been any deception, it would have required the collusion of about seventy generations, and that, too, to bring about a belief of the human race in the most elevating spiritual blessings- a circumstance utterly incredible; remember that the Jews who persecuted Jesus Christ to death, and who still reject His claims, have handed down these prophetic writings to us as infallibly inspired of God, and are, many of them, today willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, in defense of such inspiration; and then carefully read the New Testament, which was written more than four hundred years after the last Old Testament prophet; and see how these vastly complicated and seemingly inconsistent details were precisely fulfilled in the history of Jesus of Nazareth; and if you have not a darkened understanding, a seared conscience, and a stony heart, you will prostrate your soul before the once incarnate and crucified but now risen and enthroned Redeemer, with the impassioned exclamation of Thomas- My Lord and my God!
As has well been said, Jesus Christ is the only key in all the universe that fits the infinitely complicated lock of Messianic prophecy.
The Jewish rabbins thought some of the Messianic prophecies so inconsistent with others that they supposed there would be two Messiahs- a Messiah ben (or son of) Joseph who should suffer, and a Messiah ben David who should reign. But the Messianic prophecies of suffering and reigning are indissolubly blended. The principles of bleeding sorrow and holy truimph are eternally blended in Him who is at once and forever the LAMB and the SON OF GOD- the vicarious sufferer and the Divine bridegroom of His redeemed church. (Cant. v. 10; Isa. liii.; liv. 5; Eph. v. 23-32; John i. 18, 29; Psalm ii. 7; Matt. xvi. 16; Mark xiv. 61, 62; Acts iii. 13; Rom. i. 3, 4; Heb. i. 2, 3; 1 Peter i. 3; Rev. i. 5; xix. 7, 9, 13; xxii. 1).