Page images
PDF
EPUB

tions of time about the Messiah's coming, * although they are plainly called and directed thereto by God himself. Neither can they conceal the vexation which from hence they receive, by finding the design of the prophecy so directly against them. Hence this place of Daniel, with respect to the time of the Messiah, and Isa. liïi, for his office and work, are generally esteemed the racks and tortures of the rabbins. For the computation itself, the Jews universally acknowledge, that the sevens here denote sevens of years; so that the whole duration of the 70 sevens, compriseth 490

years.f

$4. But that it is the true Messiah is here intended,

appears from

1. The context and scope of the place.

(1.) This whole revelation was granted to Daniel, for his relief in the prospect that he had of the ensuing calamities of the church: and was recorded by him, for its encouragement and support in those distresses, as were also the prophecies of Haggai and Malachi, before insisted on. Now, the only general promise which God, for the consolation of the church of old, renewed unto them in all ages, was this concerning the Messiah, wherein all their blessedness was contained.

(2.) Unless the Messiah, and his blessed work be here intended, there is not one word of comfort or relief to the church in this whole prophecy. The context, therefore, evidently bespeaks the true Messiah to be here intended.

$5. 2. The names and titles given to the person spoken of, declare who he is that is designed. He is

* Talm. Tract. Sanedr. Shebet. Jehuda. Maimon. in Jad, Ehazekah, Tract. De Regib. Cap. xii.

+R. Saadias Hagaon, Jarchi, Kimki, &c.

pecu

called (1999) the Messiah, the anointed, (nat' ežoxuu) by way of eminence, and absolutely. The addition of (7983 nwo ver. 25,) Messiah the Prince, makes it yet more evident. For as this word is often used to denote a supreme ruler, one that “goeth in and out “before the people,” in rule and government, as 2 Sam. vii, 8; 1 Kings i, 35; xiv, 7, &c. so it is liarly assigned to the Messiah, Isa. lv, 4; “Behold, I “have given him a witness to the people, a leader, (or "prince,) and commander to the people.” And to ascribe this name of Messiah the Prince' absolutely to any but the promised seed, is contrary to the whole tenor of the Old Testament.

Moreover, he is called, (ver. 24, Supoup) the most holy, (sanctitas sanctitatum) in the abstract, the holiness of holinesses. The most holy place in the tabernacle and temple was so called, but that cannot be here intended. The time is limited numb) to anoint (or make a Messiah of) the most holy;' but by the Jews confession, the holy place in the second temple was never anointed. It must, therefore, be the person typified by the holy place, in whom the fulness of the Godhead was to dwell, that is here said to be anointed.*

$6. 3. The work here assigned to be done in the days of the Messiah, declares who it is that is intended; as, finishing transgression, the making an end of sin, making a reconciliation for iniquity, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the sealing up of the vision and prophecy, his being cut off, and not for himself, confirming the covenant with many, causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease, Dan. ix, 24—27. All these, especially as coincident, demonstrate the person of the Messiah. He that shall call to mind what hath been evinced concerning the nature of the first promise; the faith of the ancient Judaical church; the person, office, and work of the Messiah; will, upon the first consideration of these things, conclude that this is he. For we have in these things, the substance of all the temple institutions, the centre of all promises, and a brief delineation of the whole work of the promised seed, Wherefore, although it be not an exposition of the place that we have undertaken, but merely a demonstration of the concernment of the Messiah therein; yet, because the consideration of the particular expressions above-mentioned will corroborate the present argument, I shall briefly explain them.

*The words of Nachmanides (in loc.) are remarkable: “This “Holy of Holies is the Messiah, who is sanctified from the sons of David."

87. The first thing is (yub gehob ad cohibendum prævaricationem) to restrain, coerce, make an end of transgression.” The verb (59) is to shut, to shut up; to forbid, to refrain, to restrain. For the latter sense, we might refer to Psalm cxix, 101; (ongkyn) “I "have refrained, (or kept) my feet from every evil “way.” Psal. xi, 12; «Thou, Lord (aban deb) wilt not seithhold, or restrain, thy mercy from me.” For the former, to Jer. iii, 3; Hag. i, 10; 1 Sam. xxv, 33, &c. Hence (prising carcer) a prison, wherein men are put under restraint. From the similitude of letters, and sound in pronunciation, some suppose it to have an affinity, in signification, with the word (oby) to consummate, to end, to finish. But there is no sufficient proof of this coincidence. For, although the latter sometimes may signify to restrain, or shut up, as Psalm Ixxiv, 11; yet, the former no where signifies to consummate, or to finish.

The first thing, therefore, promised with the Mes siah, and which he was to do at his coming, was, to

[ocr errors]

restrain transgression, to shut it up from overflowing the world so universally as it had done. Transgression, from the day of its first entrance into the world, had passed over the whole lower creation, like a flood; but God would now, by the Messiah, coercively set bounds to it. By his Spirit, by his grace, by his doctrine, and the efficacious power of his gospel, he set bounds to the rage of wickedness, rooted out the old idolatry of the world, and turned millions of the sons of Adam unto righteousness. But the Jews, who deny his coming, can give no instance of any other restraint laid upon the prevalency of transgression, within the time limited by the angel; and so directly deny the truth of the prophecy, because they will not apply it to Him, to whom alone it belongs.

88. The second thing is (nuon anns) to seal up sins. The expression is metaphorical. To seal, is either to keep safe, or to hide and cover; the former can have no place here, being perfectly inconsistent with what is spoken immediately before, and what follows directly after, in the text; and the most proper sense of the word is, to cover or conceal, and thence to seal, because thereby a thing is hidden. Now, to hide sin or transgression, in the Old Testament, is to pardon it, or forgive it. As then the former expression respecteth the restraining of the power and progress of sin, by the grace of the gospel, as Tit. ii, 11, 12; so this expression respects the pardon and removal of its guilt, by the mercy proclaimed and tendered in the gospel. Hence is God said to “cast our sins behind “his back; to cover them, and to cast them into the "bottom of the sea.” That this was no way to be done, but by the Messiah, we have before evinced. Neither can the Jews assign any other way of the accomplishment of this part of the prediction, within the

time limited. For, setting aside this only consideration of the pardoning of sin, procured by the mediation of the Messiah; and there was never any age wherein God did more severely bring forth sin to judgment, as themselves at large experience.

89. Thirdly, this season is designed (y 2005) to make reconciliation for iniquity;" to make atonement. See Heb. ii, 17.

When the word is applied to God, as the agent, it is to hide, to cover, to pardon sin, to be gracious to sinners; and when so applied to men, in the use of any of his institutions, it is to propitiate, appease, atone; make atonement. This latter was the work for which he was promised to our first parents. That he was to do it, we are taught in the Old Testament; and how he did it, we learn in the gospel. To expect this work from any other, or to be wrought by any other ways or means, is fully to renounce the first promise, and the faith of the holy fathers from the foundation of the world.

$10. What is mentioned in the fourth place answers the former (Bimby pay 19375) to bring in everlasting «righteousness.There was a legal righteousness, amongst the people before, consisting partly in their blameless observance of the institutions, and partly in their ritual atonements for sin, made annually and occasionally. But that neither of these could constitute their righteousness everlasting, needs not a formal proof. Wherefore, an evangelical righteousness, which is absolute, perfect, and enduring for ever, is promised to be brought in by the Messiah; the righteousness which he wrought in his life and death, doing and suffering the whole will of God, and which procureth, as well as terminates in, not a temporal deliverance, but the “everlasting salvation” mentioned in Isa. xly, 17

« PreviousContinue »