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he was the Lord, was also her Lord, the Angel of the Covenant foretold by Malachi, and whose advent had been announced by the angel. Such a recognition as this belonged to the same sphere as its object, and equally transcended the limits of
JOHN I. 6.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."
In the expression ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, there is evidently an allusion to the words of Malachi, "behold I send my messenger before me." The whole of the description which follows forms a simple commentary upon his prophecy. A verbal reference is apparent again in ver. 9.
JOHN I. 9.
"That was the true light, which lighteth every man, coming into the world.”
Why does John say v
coming) and not more briefly and clearly ev eis Tòν Kóσμov (he came into the world)? The reply is, that the former gives greater prominence to the connexion with the prophecy. The great ἐρχόμενος (the coming one) was in every mouth, σὺ εἶ ὁ épxóuevos (art thou the coming one?) Matt. xi. 3, ó óпíów μov épxóμevos in vers. 15, 27, 30, of this chapter. The Evangelist retains the form of the prophecy, but shows by the v which he prefixes that it had already been fulfilled, he was a coming one. The elaborate way in which the relation between John and Christ is afterwards described, evidently refers chiefly to Malachi, and is intended to hold up Christ as the Lord and Angel of the Covenant foretold by Malachi, an intention which was more likely to exist in the case of John, the theologian, than in that of the other Evangelists. The contrast between the heavenly and the earthly one is made as marked as possible (compare the ǎveρwπоs in ver. 6, which is certainly not equivalent to ris in this connexion.)
JOHN I. VER. 15 COMPARED WITH VER. 30.
"John bare witness of him and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, he that cometh after me is preferred before me : for he was before me."
"This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me” (¤μπрoodév μov γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν).
My successor is my predecessor, for he is (according to the very prophecy, which forms the centre of my own existence) infinitely older than I. John alludes to Mal. iii. 1, where the sacred enigma, to which he gives utterance here, was already to be met with. He who follows "my messenger" (ó òπíow μov èpxóμevos), also sends "my messenger." He is therefore his predecessor, and, as the Lord and Angel of the Covenant, is infinitely older than he, or rather than everything else in existence (for an explanation of πρῶτος μου compare ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν). There is nothing like tautology here. The absolute pre-existence, which is clearly implied in the names "the Lord" and "Angel of the Covenant," that occur in the original prophecy, constitutes the antecedent. We have no ground, therefore, for interpreting eμmpoo @ev as denoting superiority in rank, an explanation for which we can find no warrant either in Gen. xlviii. 20, or in the passages which Lücke has quoted from Plato.—If the Baptist everywhere expressed the firm conviction, that the Messiah was the Lord and Angel of the Covenant foretold by Malachi, we cannot possibly see on what ground it can be maintained that he had no clear or well defined idea of His divinity. And if the Baptist was not ignorant of the divinity of the Messiah, if it was because he was aware of it that he declared pŵтós μоv v; then, whenever we meet with the assertion, "the Baptist was certainly not thinking of the λόγος when he used the words πρῶτος μου ἦν,” we must erase the not to make it correct. A time will come when the artistically constructed edifice, into which the doctrine of the Móyos has been built in modern times, will have to be pulled to pieces, and the materials used for a little outhouse adjoining the principal building, which will be formed exclusively of stones taken from the Old Testament. In fact, if they were lost alto
gether, no harm would be done to the question itself, and only some trifling injury in cases where verbal criticism was concerned. That in "the Lord, even the Angel of the Covenant," predicted by Malachi-(as explained by everything contained in the Old Testament with reference to the "Angel of Jehovah ")-the essence of His Logos is fully contained, is shown clearly enough by the Evangelist, in the fact that he takes the words of Malachi as the basis of the remarks, which he has made upon the subject of the Logos.
JOHN I. 21-23.
"And they asked him, art thou Elias? And he saith, I am Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias."
In what has already been stated, we have sufficient evidence that the Baptist merely gave a negative answer to the question whether he were Elias, on the ground that those who asked it had in their minds the false notion of a personal re-appearance of Elias himself. We would only remark, in addition, that to the relative denial in this case a relative affirmation (in ver. 23) is immediately afterwards opposed. For by declaring himself to be "the voice crying in the desert," as foretold by Isaiah, he at the same time asserts that he is the Elias and "my messenger," predicted by Malachi. The proof of this is also to be found in what has already been said. We have shown that the prophecy of Malachi is merely a resumption of that of Isaiah, and that it was constantly referred to in this light by the Baptist, by Christ, and by his Apostles. There can be no doubt whatever, that John regarded the kúpios of Isaiah as the Christ, and therefore also as truly God.
JOHN I. 27.
"He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”
"It was the duty of a slave, to carry the sandals of his lord, and to untie them when they were taken off." He who is represented by Malachi as first sending" my messenger," and then coming himself, is, the Lord; for him, therefore, the service rendered by a servant to a lord is far too small.
JOHN I. 31.
“And I knew him not; but that he should be manifested unto Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water."
The allusion to Is. xl. 5 is unmistakeable here,-a fresh proof of the knowledge possessed by John of the divinity of the Messiah. The design of his baptism, which was equivalent to the preparing of the way announced by Isaiah, the latter being a figurative description, the former a symbol (Verkörperung, lit. embodiment) of repentance, was to manifest the glory of the Lord, which was now concealed. This allusion is rendered the more certain by comparing the words in chap. ii. 11, “and manifested forth his glory." In the miracle of Christ recorded there, John perceived a fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah respecting the "manifestation of the glory of the Lord." As Christ is Jehovah, the manifestation of the glory of Christ necessarily involves a manifestation of the glory of Jehovah.
1 COR. XVI. 22.
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha."
The word Maran-atha, which is so striking in an epistle written in Greek and written to Greeks, is in itself a sufficient indication of an Old Testament foundation. The retention of the Aramean form can only be explained on the supposition, that
it was a kind of watchword, common to all the believers in Israel; and no expression could well have come to be so used, if it had not been taken from the Scriptures. There can hardly be any doubt, that it actually was taken from Mal. iii. 1. We have already shown that this passage was regarded as the basis of the anticipation of the coming of the Lord. And to this we may add that τw ȧváleμa is evidently also taken from Malachi, namely, from chap. iv. 6, where there is a similar reference to coming. For the preparation of the way, and the turning of the hearts, mentioned by Malachi, the apostle substitutes love to the Lord Jesus. They both refer to the same thing, though in different relations. One cannot be conceived of without the other.