« ForrigeFortsæt »
completely take away sin.' The mode, in which this is effected, is set forth in an exposition of the text, Kiss the Son, which is offered by the author of the Midrash Tehillim. He states, that the passage may be illustrated by a parable. A certain king was angry with his subjects. They therefore went, and made his son their friend, that so they might conciliate the mind of their king. The son departed and reconciled his father, as they had reconciled themselves to the son. They went to give thanks to the king. But the king said to them : You give thanks to me; go and offer them to my son : for, had it not been for him, I should have destroyed the province.”
In the same work we find it declared, that the Redeemer of Israel in the days of the Messiah will be Jehovah himself. Thus he saved them by the hand of other judges, who being but flesh and blood, ye fell into slavery again ; but, in the age to come, I MY OWN SUBSTANCE will redeem you ;
shall not be reduced into servitude, any more. By the age to come the Rabbins mean the age of the Messiah : for they rightly divide the whole duration of the world into three grand periods ; the age before the Law, the age under the Law, and the age under the Messiah,
It is further intiinated by the Hebrew doctors, that Messiah shall be a prophet to the Gentiles 110
· Neve Shalom. lib. ix. c. 5. Voisin, Observ. p. 398.
less than to the Jews, and that God himself will be the immediate promulgator of the new covenant. A certain prophet shall arise, says Gerson, who shall at the same time be a prophet to all the nations of the earth : and this shall be the king Messiah ; as it is said in Midrash, that the Messiah shall be far greater than Moses.' But, as Jehovah is confessed to be the name of the Messiah, whatever proceeds from the mouth of the Messiah proceeds from the mouth of Jehovah. Hence says Maimonides, Behold, it is explained unto thee, that our Rabbins were of opinion, that in process of time all the Israelites should receive another law IMMEDIATELY from the mouth of THE BLESSED GOD,
3. The reason, why the Rabbins pronounced the Messiah to be Jehovah, was this. Following the ancient Targums, which spoke the universally received doctrine of the Hebrew Church, they perceived, like the authors of those Targums, that the Messiah was the same person as the anthropomorphic Word or Angel of Jehovah. But they knew, that the Angel of Jehovah was the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob; and they were assured, that their pious forefathers did not idola, trously worship a creature, but that they venerated the self-existent God Jehovah. Hence they rightly determined, that Jehovah was the name of the Messiah, This will appear very distinctly, if we
Gers. in Leg. fol. 198, ? Maimon. de Fund. lib. iii. c. 19.
attend to their doctrine respecting the great Angel whom they cabalistically denominate Metatron.
Among the ancients, whether Jews or Pagans, there was a frequent practice of expressing names by numbers : and the mode, which they followed, was to take the sum total of the numeral letters which occur in any particular name and by that sum to distinguish the name itself. Thus Thouth or Hermes was cabalistically styled 1218; Jupiter, viewed as the beginning, 717 ; and the Sun, under the title of Hyes, 608. In a similar manner, St. Barnabas denominates Christ 318: and St. John teaches us, that the number of the name, borne by the Latin beast, is 666.' On this principle, the Rabbins seem to have constructed the appellation Metatron. Jehovah says of his Angel, My name is in him. Now the divine name Shadai contains the number 314: the Rabbins therefore had to contrive another name for the Angel, which should comprehend the number of the title Shadai ; and the name, which they selected for this purpose, was Metatron. The great Angel then was called Metatron, because the name of Jehovah was in him: and to this Angel, whom, as the Angel of Jehovah, they identify with the Messiah, they rightly ascribe all the characteristics of divinity.
According to the Rabbins, Metatron is exalted above all the created angels, continually beholding the face of God, and distributing to them every day
See Bp. Newton's Diss. on the Proph. vol. iii. p. 230, 231.
bread convenient for them.' He is the Angel of God's face or presence. He performs the functions of a mediator: for they say, that by him alone we have access to God. When the tabernacle was erected in the wilderness, they pretend, that another tabernacle was erected, that of the child Metatron, whose name is the same with the name of his God: a notion, so far as the latter part of it is concerned, clearly borrowed from that prophecy of Isaiah, which predicts the birth of a child about to be denominated the wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the father of the everlasting age, the Prince of peace. In this tabernacle he is said to offer the souls of the just, that he may make expiation for Israel during the time of his captivity."
The whole of the present opinion is highly curious from its close correspondence with the doctrine taught under the gospel. . As the Rabbins style Metatron the child, they must have expected that he would be born incarnate into the world agreeably to the predictions of Isaiah ; and this, accordingly, they themselves expressly declare to have been the case. Now they say, that he is to make expiation for sin in a tabernacle distinct from the Levitical tabernacle. Here they use an expression perfectly familiar to their countrymen,
Basnage's Hist. book iv. c. 8.
Talmud. Chagigah. c. 2. Vitring. Obs. Sacr. lib. i. c. 9. 3 Bereshit Ketan. apud Mart. Pug. p. 284.
Beresh. Rab. ibid. Midr. Ruth. Ibid.
who were wont to apply the name of tabernacle to the human body. Thus St. Paul speaks of our earthly tabernacle being dissolved by the hand of death; and represents us as groaning, while we continue in it: thus also St. Peter talks of what is his duty, so long as he continues in this tabernacle ; and expresses his conviction, thạt he must shortly put off his tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed him." In strict accordance with this phraseology, the author of the epistle to the Hebrew's describes our Lord's body as being the true tabernacle, which was shadowed out by the sacred tabernacle under the Levitical dispensation: and, in thus explaining the matter, he does but take up the words of his divine master ; who had said, in reference to his body which was the dwelling-place of God, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The same idea is conveyed by St. John, when speaking of Christ's incarnation : the Word, says he, was made flesh and dwelt among us in a tabernacle ; the tabernacle, no doubt, of his human body. Such then being the ordinary language of the Jews, when the Rabbins mention the tabernacle of the child Metatron, as distinct from the tabernacle in the wilderness, and as being the abode in which he makes expiation for sin ; we must obviously conclude, that they speak of that human body, in which the
2 Cor. v. 1, 4. 2 Pet. i. 13, 14, 2 Heb. viii. 2. ix. 11. John ii. 19, 21, 3 John i. 14. Gr. Eoknvwgev.