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20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
That the delivering of the law was the beginning of the AION, or Hebrew world, is obvious from the words of Peter...
In the Authorised Version it is rendered "since the world began." If this be preferred, it is evident that the world referred to was coeval in its beginning with Moses, for he is cited as the first of the holy prophets by whose mouth God spoke of the reconstitution of the Hebrew commonwealth at the appearing of Christ from heaven.
Paul refers to the same epoch, saying, "the fellowship of the mystery hath been hid in God APO TON AIONON from the ages;" in the common version, "from the beginning of the world" (Eph. 3:9). From the beginning of the age, or of the ages, is the correct rendering of the Greek in these texts. They both refer to the beginning of the commonwealth of Israel in the giving of the law from Sinai.
To speak in the vernacular, God promised eternal life to man before the world began. Such a statement as this would be incomprehensible to a mere English reader; yet such is the import of the saying "God, who cannot lie, promised eternal life before the world began (PRO CHRONON AIONION); but in due times (KAIROIS IDIOIS) hath manifested His word by preaching" (Tit. 1:2, 3).
To whom did He promise it? Certainly not to any one before the formation of man. The world referred to cannot therefore be that founded in the six days, but a constitution of things long subsequent to it. A literal translation removes all difficulty. The phrase PRO CHRONON AIONION is before the aionian times; that is, before the times of the Hebrew commonwealth were arranged, God promised eternal life, and in KAIROIS IDIOIS definite times, such times, namely, as are particularised in Daniel (Dan. 9:24-26), He made His word, which had before been a hidden mystery, manifest (Rom. 16:26) through the apostolic preaching.
Elpis Israel 2.1.
22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Moses and the Prophet Like unto Him
Moses was the great-great grandson of Jacob in the line of Levi, Kohath, and Amram. He was born in Egypt in the year of the world 2383, which, according to our computation published in Elpis Israel, was 727 years after the Flood, and 350 years after the confirmation of the promise of Canaan to Abraham and his Seed for an everlasting possession.
He was named Moses by Pharaoh's daughter, importing that he was saved out of the water. We do not propose here to compile a history of this, the greatest man of his time, and of the sixteen centuries and a half which succeeded the passage of the Red Sea. It cannot be better related than it is in the admirable writings current in his name. Our object is to call attention to him as a representative man - a man representing or typifying another man, even "the Man Christ Jesus."
The history of Moses is representative from his flight into the country of Midian, Arabia Petrea south of Mount Sinai, to his decease when the Lord hid him from his nation. There was a likeness, indeed, between Moses and Jesus in their infancy; for while the life of Moses was jeopardized by the decree of Pharaoh, Jesus was also endangered by the mandate of Herod against Rachel's children of two years old and under. But Yahweh preserved them; and thus were they cast upon Him from their birth, and kept in safety, or "made to hope" upon their mothers' breasts.
There was a resemblance also in the high qualifications and faithful self denial of these two personages in their manhood. "Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words, and deeds." This was previous to his attaining the age of forty years. To this time, though the adopted grandson of Pharaoh, and heir apparent of the Egyptian throne, and surrounded by the licentious notables of its court, where the God of Abraham was unknown, Moses was a man of faith - a learned, mighty, and faithful man, who might have worn the crown of the greatest monarchy of the age, with all its treasures, but he renounced them all, and became a fugitive, and companion of oppressed bondmen, that he might share in the kingdom to be established under Abraham's Seed in the adjoining country of the Canaanites.
Jesus, too, was the most learned and the wisest man of that or any other age before or since. He was wise and learned by divine intuition; and in the language of Cleopas, "was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." His political self-denial was as conspicuous as that of Moses. Thrice he refused dominion and a crown at the hand of any power inferior to God. "All these tetrarchal kingdoms of the land," said their possessor, "will I give to thee, if thou wilt do homage for them to me;" but on such terms he rejected them. He knew that all upon Israel's land was His, and the world in its widest sense beside. A then present possession would have saved him much suffering, and have exalted him at once to honour and glory. But he knew that to receive even his own at the hand of the enemy would be to forswear the supremacy of Yahweh, and to become Satan's king instead of God's.
"Thou shalt do homage to the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
These were the words of Moses to which he had respect as the words of Yahweh. He knew that to receive the kingdom, glory and dominion of the world from any other power than God would be to descend from the high position of the predestined representative of the Divine Majesty upon the earth for ever, to the degradation of a mere equality with Cæsar, and the world-rulers of the age. Yea, like Moses, "he had respect unto the recompense of the reward;" and "for the joy that was set before him" he refused to let the people make him king, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season."
The "kingdom is not from hence." It can only be received with eternal honour and glory from thence; that is, from God, not from Satan nor the people. Moses and Jesus understood this well; therefore Moses forsook Egypt, and Jesus forsook Palestine, that they might receive the royalty from God at the appointed time.
Thus far the resemblance between Moses and Jesus is complete. Cradled in peril, saved of God, and hopeful of the same promise, they were men of renown in word and deed, whose faith was "made perfect" by their works after the example of their father Abraham, leaving behind them illustrious exemplifications of the truth, that the enjoyment of the pleasures of sin for a season is incompatible and fatal to an inheritance of the kingdom of God.
But here the present similitude between them is suspended. Moses and Jesus were indeed the rejected of the nation, as is already implied in the allusion to their departure from their people, the one into Midian, where he met with God, in the bush; and the other to a far country, where he is still in the presence of Him whose glory illumined the rocky Arabia: but as yet, unlike the case of Moses, Yahweh has not yet sent Jesus from "holy ground, " shining with unapproachable light, to be a ruler and a deliverer, to bring the tribes of Israel out of the land of the enemy, even those tribes which said unto him, "Who made thee a ruler and a judge? Away with such a fellow; we will not have him to reign over us!"
But Moses, whom they refused, they afterwards received as their commander, legislator, and king. They placed themselves under him as Yahweh's representative, through whom the nation should obtain political independence and organization, and by whom it should be put into possession of a country, even of that country from which their fathers came before they migrated into Egypt, and which was promised to Abraham and his Seed for an everlasting possession. This was an acceptance of Moses which finds no counterpart in the annals of Israel and the history of Jesus. They have refused him as they refused Moses, but a like acceptance of him is yet to come.
From the accession of Moses to the leadership of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, his history is that of the nation also. He is no longer to be contemplated as an individual isolated from his people; but as a prophet, a mediator, a lawgiver, a man of war, and a king. These were his relations to Israel from his second appearing in their midst to the end of his career. He was a mediator-prophet, a lawgiving-prophet, a warrior-prophet, and a royal-prophet. He was not simply a man through whom God spoke to the tribes of Israel as he spoke to them through Ezekiel - a man whose functions were restricted to the utterance of the divine purpose; but a man who was not only to speak but to execute the will of Yahweh, whose servant he was.
Now the reader will see by consulting the references below that Moses was precisely the kind of prophet we have indicated. During his administration of the national affairs, Yahweh spoke by him alone. At the commencement of his career, before he was accepted by the nation, he was sent to the people as a prophet-preacher, announcing that the time had arrived to redeem Israel from the power of them that hated them, and to establish the kingdom of God in the promised land - that glorious kingdom of which they were to be the priestly and holy nation.
This proclamation of "the Everlasting Gospel" they believed for a while; and in consequence placed themselves at the disposal of Moses, that they might obtain its promises at his hand. "The gospel," says Paul, "was preached unto them;" that is, by Moses: but it did not profit that generation, because their faith failed them.
They had faith enough to escape from Egypt, but they had not faith enough to enable them to enter the promised country, and to possess it Mosaically; much less faith had they to obtain a right to it everlastingly, under the covenant which provides for the priesthood and royalty of Christ. But, as is well known, the character of gospel-preacher was merged into that of the prophet-judge of Egypt, and the warrior-prophet of Israel; for Moses, having preached salvation to the tribes, executed judgment upon their oppressors, and by the hand of Yahweh his strength gave the nation baptism into himself in the cloud and in the sea, as its sovereign under God.
Henceforth, Moses was every thing to the Twelve Tribes. Having once heard Yahweh's voice thundering forth the Decalogue from Sinai's cloud-capped, burning, and trembling mountain, he granted the petition of their terror-stricken hearts, that henceforth he would speak to them only through his servant Moses, lest they should die.
Yahweh spoke to Moses in their hearing thus that they might believe him for ever; for if they should believe Moses, they would not fail to believe in him of whom he was afterwards to write. As Moses was to Aaron, so he was to all Israel "in the place of God." He gave them the bread of heaven to eat, and water out of the flinty rock to drink, and clad them with raiment that waxed not old upon them. What a prophet-king was this! Truly the father of his people, who sustained them in life with food and raiment, and taught them wisdom from above. What nation ever had such a king as Moses? and what were David and Solomon to Israel after him?
As the servant of Yahweh, he gave the nation an existence, ushering it into being, amid storm and fury, and the ruin of a mighty host, from the depths of the sea; he sustained it from the stores of heaven for forty years; beat down their enemies, and trampled them as the mire of the streets; gave them a holy, just, and good, but inexorable law; and brought them to the verge of Canaan's land, a well trained and disciplined nation, fit and prepared to take possession of it under the conduct of a successor worthy of himself.
He was Yahweh's servant, "faithful in all his house, for a testimony," or representation, "of those things which were to be spoken after." He was the greatest character the world has known, with one exception. The world's great ones are not to be named in the same breath. Moses! What meekness, disinterestedness, faithfulness, self-denial, wisdom, knowledge, power, honour, glory, and exaltation, doth that name represent! A man that was dead and is alive again, and lives forevermore; yet though living still in hope, "not having received the promise," but waiting for it, that all who believe may be glorified together in the kingdom of God restored again to Israel.
Dost thou not, O thoughtful reader of the living oracles, recognize in the foregoing sketch the Moses of the Pentateuch? Yea, verily, it is a true portrait of the original in outline, left unfinished in detail, that thou mayest fill in the lights and shadows of the picture at thy convenience. Study Moses, and see if he was not the kind of prophet herein described. Do you think you would have a true conception of his prophetic character, if you knew no more of Moses than as a preacher of the gospel to Israel before he visited the court of Pharaoh? No, indeed. You must know the whole written history of the man, to be able to say, "I know the prophet Moses;" for Moses was a prophet to the end of his career.
You cannot separate his prophetic office from his mediatorship, or his legislatorial, or regal functions. His code is a great symbolic as well as verbal representation of the truth - a speaking prophecy to the eyes and ears of his nation, and to all others who comprehend it. You must contemplate him in the entirety of his mission; you must view him as a whole, and then, and not till then, will you be able to say if Ezekiel or any other prophet be, "a prophet like unto him."
Moses, the prophet thus fully manifested in Israel, was a representative man. This is evident from the following passage in his writings. Addressing the Twelve Tribes he says,
"Yahweh thy God shall raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desirest of Yahweh thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And Yahweh said unto me, they have well spoken what they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet of their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."
This passage attests the truth of what we have said. It plainly and explicitly declares that the prophet Moses was typical of a future prophet who was to appear in Israel. In other words, that this future prophet was to be like Moses. Now, beloved reader, suppose you and I had been living at the time Yahweh spoke these words by his servant Moses, with whose extraordinary history, which was national, we were quite familiar, what should we have expected would be the mission of the prophet to come? I say, "the mission;" for it is the mission that supplies the characteristics of the prophet by which his resemblance to Moses can be determined.
Should we not expect the Moses-like prophet to preach the everlasting gospel to the Tribes of Israel; to overthrow their oppressors; to baptize the nation into himself as their deliverer by its passage through the sea; to stand between them and Yahweh to speak to them all that He should command him; to give them a law; to build a temple in their midst; to organize the nation; and to fit and prepare it for entrance into the land of Israel, under the covenant of an everlasting possession, which is the nation's hope? Should we not expect a prophet whose mission should be to accomplish something like this? Should we not expect him to perform these things in the midst of the Twelve Tribes after the manner of Moses? Certainly we should.
This Moses-like prophet was expected for sixteen centuries and a half. During all that long period, though many prophets appeared in Israel, not one of them was accepted as the one like unto Moses. None of them claimed to be like him, not even Elijah. Yet why should he not, if a great miracle working prophet were the sum of the similitude to Moses?
At length Jesus came, "a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;" and some of them said, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph;" while others said, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world;" and as the result of their conviction meditated the taking of him by force and making him a king. This shows what sort of a Moses-like prophet the people expected, to wit, a prophet-king; hence Nathanael, when he saw the man announced by Philip as the prophet foretold by Moses, recognized him as Son of God, and Israel's king.
Zacharias, the father of John, thus defines the mission of the prophet-king; "Yahweh hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been from the beginning of the age: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant-the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that being delivered out of the hand of our enemies we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life."
These are the ideas imparted to Zacharias by the Holy Spirit with which he was filled. They define the work to be accomplished by the Moses-like prophet, who is styled "a Horn of Salvation for Israel." This is just the sort of prophet Moses was. He was a Horn or power through whom Yahweh saved the tribes from Egypt. Moses was raised up in the house of Levi, but the Horn or power like unto Moses was raised up in the house of David. His mission was as stated. It was Mosaic: first, to deliver Israel from their oppressors; and secondly' to perform the good thing promised to their fathers in the holy covenant, and confirmed by an oath to Abraham.
The work which Moses performed was but the earnest of that to be executed by the Moses-like prophet. Moses delivered Israel, but the deliverance was not the everlasting salvation of the nation. They fell under the power of their adversaries again, and their condition has become worse than Egyptian. In the days of Jesus ten-twelfths of the nation were outcasts among the nations beyond Parthia; and the other two, though still occupants of the land, were oppressed by the Roman power. The Holy Spirit in Zacharias taught them to expect that the child about to be born would complete the work that Moses had begun in saving the Twelve Tribes with an everlasting deliverance, so that they "might serve Yahweh without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of their life."
The mercy promised to Israel's fathers is the execution of judgment and righteousness in the land of Israel by the Branch of righteousness which was to grow up to David. In perfecting this work, the Holy Covenant confirmed by an oath to Abraham would find its manifestation in the kingdom of God restored again to Israel. The tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and whose ruins are trampled under foot, will then have been built again as in the days of old.
This work accomplished, and the Restorer will stand in the midst of Israel as the Moses-like prophet in full manifestation. His resemblance to Moses must be based on the historical representation of that distinguished man as the prophet - sovereign of the Twelve Tribes.
No account is taken of Moses in the history during his forty years' absence from Israel further than that he was a keeper of sheep in an obscure country. Figuratively speaking, this is the employment of his antitype. He is superintending the affairs of his "little flock" in this nether wilderness-making reconciliation for his household-until the time shall arrive to leave "holy ground," where the glory of the God of Israel shines upon him. But in this there is no similitude between him and Moses as a prophet in Israel.
The Moses-like prophet must be present in Israel's midst, surrounded by the Twelve Tribes, and discharging the duties which it is the function of a High Priest, or mediator, lawgiver, king, and commander, to perform. Of the mission of Moses' antitype we shall speak more at large elsewhere; suffice it to say here, that Zacharias testifies that it is to save Israel from their enemies and all that hate them; and to convert what Yahweh promised to Abraham into an accomplished fact.
The Holy Spirit testifies, I say, that the babe of Bethlehem was the Horn provided in David's house to perform this work, which is as political, national and warlike a mission as that of Moses. When this goodly child attained to manhood did he save Israel from all, or even any of those that hated them? Did he not on the contrary strengthen those very enemies, and send them against them to slay them, to burn up their city, and scatter them abroad?
O, but we hear some word-corrupting mystic of world-wide celebrity "piously" observing, that their real enemies that hated them were their sins and the devil, not sinners; and that when the Jews "confessed the Lord," and "obtained a hope," or "got religion," or were "baptized for the redemption of sins," they were "the saved;" and consequently "saved from their enemies and all that hated them," in the spiritual sense of the words! We pray for patience when we hear such stupid nonsense.
The spiritual sense of the words is the obvious sense, which is in strict accordance with the grammatical or literal. "The Lord added to the ecclesia daily," not the saved, but "tous sozomenous, " the present participle passive, "the being saved"-persons, the subjects of a salvation which begins with the remission of their past sins, and is perfected when, having been raised from the dead, they inherit for ever "the kingdom restored again to Israel" at their national reconciliation with Yahweh, and deliverance from their enemies, and the power of all that hate them.
Hence Paul says, "we are saved by the hope, " if we be not moved away from it, but keep in memory what he preached. But granting that salvation is complete at baptism, in some sense, the baptized of Israel were certainly not saved from all that hated them, which is the salvation under Jesus the words of Zacharias call for. The opposite is true; for those that hated them prevailed against the saved, delivering them over to torture and death, as they have prevailed against them to this day, and will prevail against them till the Ancient of Days come, and the saints possess the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom for ever under the whole heaven, not above it.
Seeing, then, that Israel is not saved, but continue "a people scattered and peeled-a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land invading armies have spoiled;" that there is no king in Israel executing judgment and righteousness in their land; and that the holy covenant sworn to Abraham has only been dedicated with the precious blood of his Seed, and beyond this no more performed than in the days of Moses; the conclusion is inevitable, that the Lord Jesus has not yet accomplished his mission, and that he has not yet appeared as a prophet like unto Moses.
Now because this conclusion is true, and cannot be refuted, the Jews of our time refuse to confess Jesus as their ruler and judge; "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Gentile theologists rightly affirm, that He is the prophet of whom Moses wrote; but they do not affirm the truth in maintaining that in his appearing He resembled, or was "like unto" him. So long as they occupy this ground the conversion of Jews by them to any respectable extent is impossible.
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy"-the testimony of the prophecy is the spirit which testifies of Jesus. This spirit-testimony defines the mission of Christ which the apostolic history plainly demonstrates was performed by Jesus to a very limited extent; and they who affirm it was fully accomplished, aver what they cannot prove; and convict themselves of profound ignorance of the spirit-word, and exclude themselves also from that worthy company styled "the brethren of John having the testimony of Jesus."
Instead of giving "death-blows to Jewish infidelity," they are stumbling-blocks in the way of Jewish acceptance of Jesus as the prophet like unto Moses, whom Yahweh promised to raise up in the midst of Israel. "Admitting," say the Jews, "that all affirmed of Jesus in the New Testament narratives be true, proving him to be a true man and no impostor, still he is manifestly from that account not the Messiah promised in Moses and the prophets, if, as Gentile philosophers teach, he is to appear no more upon earth, and to do no more for the Twelve Tribes of Israel, as such, than feeding a few thousands at two meals, and healing the diseases of a few sick Jews, as reported of him."
This is an impregnable position, well fortified by the testimony of God. The New Testament history proves Jesus to have been Son of God, a great prophet, mighty in deed, Son of David raised from the dead and translated from the earth; but, deny that he is to appear in Palestine again and to reign there in the midst of the Twelve Tribes of Israel on David's throne, wearing the crowns of all earth's kingdoms-deny this, and prove that he is to remain for ever where he is, and you deny that Jesus is the Christ, the prophet like unto Moses, concerning whom Yahweh hath testified in his word since the foundation of the world was laid.
On the other hand, that our Jewish friends may not boast themselves against Jesus, however justly they can exult over his pretended friends, which we admit they have ample grounds to do, we remark that if any prophet should appear among them, and reestablish them in Palestine, and make them a great nation, rebuilding the temple and restoring the law, and reigning over them in Jerusalem; yet he would not be the person of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, if he had not previously been the subject of all the New Testament narrates concerning Jesus.
He might be Moses, or Elijah; but the Messiah of whom Moses wrote, impossible. Such a king could not maintain them in everlasting possession of their land; he could not give them rain from heaven and fertility of soil; he could not blot out their transgressions as a thick cloud; neither could he bestow upon any of them eternal life, &c.; in brief, he could not perform the oath sworn to Abraham by God, that "they might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of their life"-as a nation to die no more by the hand of hating Gentile tyrants; and as individuals under their own vines and fig-trees, none daring to make them afraid. Jesus, the great power of God, alone can accomplish this.
It is the great work for which he has been prepared-a preparedness to which he has attained through suffering into obedience and perfection. Moses suffered affliction before he was exalted to the throne of Israel. He was an abscondant homicide keeping sheep in the desert-a fugitive from his people before he exchanged his crook for the sceptre of Jeshurun's king. This is Yahweh's rule-probation before exaltation. Israel's Messiah cannot be exempt from this law-a principle working out its results to this day in the experience of all who with him are "the heirs of God."
Gentile philosophy denies the reappearance of Jesus in Palestine to build again or restore the kingdom and throne of Israel. Against all this philosophy we proclaim implacable and unending war. It is the philosophy of rantized and baptized infidelity, miscalled "religion." It blasphemes God, destroys the Messiahship of Jesus, nullifies the gospel, falsifies the prophets, stultifies the apostles, and makes men infidels; all of which we are prepared to prove at a moment's notice.
The cause of this universal corruption with all its fruits is ignorance of the sure prophetic word. Talk of philological theologists being great and wise who are ignorant of the prophets! Great and wise men, and yet ignorant of the foundation of the faith they pretend to preach! Ridiculous. Persevere a little longer, ye wise, in the deeds of your fathers; a few more brief years and your wisdom will become foolishness, and he that is coming will come and take you captive in your own craftiness. It will be ours to harass you as we best can as the "enemies of all righteousness, who cease not to pervert the right ways of the Lord."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Dec 1853.
25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
'...it is perfectly true that "God's salvation," by Christ's rejection, "has received a wider circle (than Israel,) viz., the whole earth;" Yet this was no accident; it was part of the plan fore-ordained and made known to the prophets, that Christ should become the salvation of Yahweh to the ends of the earth. In fact this was the principal feature of the promise to Abraham, that in his seed all families of the earth should be blessed.
But are we to say that because Christ's operations are to bear upon the whole earth, therefore they are not to have their centre in the Holy Land? that because he is to rule all nations, therefore he won't be king of the Jews? that because the Gentiles are admitted to the privilege of Israel's commonwealth, therefore Israel's commonwealth is abolished? By no means. No one truth destroys another. We must find a place for every feature'.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1867. p317