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proofs might be adduced of its great antiquity. That the doctrine
Bouλns ayyeλos,—-probably, as Gesenius observes, on theological
1 Although Tholuck (de ortu Cabbalae, Halle 37, p. 21) assigns the composition of the Cabbalistic writings to a recent date, he supposes the groundwork to have belonged to an early age. And Schmieder (p. 25) has correctly observed "Cabbalistica de Mitatrone doctrina in libro Sohar ita exculta est, ut nec illa aetate recens inventa, sed variis multorum meditationibus versata et aucta jam fuisse videatur."
2 Compare the passages quoted from Othioth R. Akkiva with Eph. i. 21 sqq. In Sohar f. 77, Sulzb., (Sommer p. 35) the Metatron is called
the beginning of the creatures of God. Compare" בריותיו של מקים
Col. i. 15, "the firstborn of every creature." The Metatron is called "the
πρεσβευτὴς δὲ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος πρὸς τὸ ὑπήκοον. At the same time, in maintaining the antiquity of the doctrine, we do not intend to maintain the antiquity of the name Metatron, as an exclusive title of the archangel. On the contrary, it is evident from the remarkable passage of R. Menachem von Rekanat (in Eisenmenger, p. 374), that the angel was already called by a number of different appellatives, until at length one of them, namely Metatron, became a standing title and a kind of proper name. In Jonathan on Ex. iii. the angel of Jehovah is called Segansagel; in Jalkut Schimoni (Eisenmenger, p. 375) and many other passages (see Danz, p. 733, 734), Michael.
We believe that we have now adduced sufficient reasons to prove, that by the angel of God we are to understand the revealer of God, who shares in His divinity, is associated with Him by unity of essence, and was the medium of all his communications, first of all to the patriarchs, and afterwards to the Mosaic economy. We have also shown, that this revealer of Jehovah was expected to appear as a Redeemer. This is implied in such passages of the Old Testament as ascribe to the Messiah divine names, attributes, and operations. For if the Messiah was to be Divine, according to the Old Testament system of religion he must necessarily stand in the same relation to God, in which the angel of the Lord is said to have stood. Distinct declarations are first made by the prophets after the captivity, namely in the passages already quoted, and also by Malachi, who calls the Messiah the angel of the covenant (chap. iii. 1), applying this term, the angel of the Lord, on account of his being employed as a messenger in the interest of the covenant, and because his coming to punish and to bless would be the necessary consequence of the covenant.
This identity of the angel of Jehovah or Metatron with the Messiah was also admitted by the later Jews, as the passage cited from the Septuagint version sufficiently proves. The New Testament writers, as we may learn from the passages already quoted, assume it as a generally admitted fact. We will simply add a remarkable passage from the Sohar (Sommer l.c. p. 35), "Cum dicitur servus ejus, intelligitur servus Jehovae, senior domus ejus, paratus ad ministerium ejus. Quis vero ille est ? Metatron hic est, sicuti diximus, futurus ut conjungatur corpori
(i.e. corpus humanum adsumat) in utero materno." For other passages see Edzardi Cod. Talm. Berachoth, p. 230.
Let us sum up briefly the result of the whole enquiry. In the writings of the prophets there is ascribed to the Messiah a divine, as well as a human nature. At the same time every polytheistic idea is precluded by the fact, that His essential unity with the supreme God is always assumed. It was expected, that the angel or revealer of Jehovah, who had previously appeared in a transient manner, and who had been the medium of all communications from Jehovah to the Israelitish nation, would at some future period assume human nature, and appear as the Saviour of Israel and the heathen world.
But the question arises here, if the distinction between the revealed and the unseen God was already known, even under the Old Testament economy, wherein consists the superiority, in this respect, of the New Testament above the Old? In the fact, we reply, that under the Old Testament the distinction between the revealing one and the Unseen necessarily retreated more into the background, and therefore might appear to be founded less upon a relation existing in the Godhead itself, than on a relation between the Deity and those to whom the revelation was made. Under the Old Testament the Mediator generally spoke and acted in the name of the God whom he revealed-it could not be otherwise, so long as the Logos had not yet been made flesh —and hence the revealing one and the being whom he revealed were lost, as it were, the one in the other, and such ideas as those of Sabellius might easily arise. Under the New Testament, on the other hand, the distinction between the revealer and the revealed assumed the form of the distinction between the Father and the Son. This was an advance in two directions. On the one hand religion became more spiritualised, whilst, on the other, it was brought more completely within the range of the senses. It was spiritualised, inasmuch as the contracted notions of the spirituality, omniscience, and omnipresence of God, which had arisen out of the failure to distinguish between the revealing one and the revealed, now fell away; and it was brought within the range of the senses, since the Son of God, by his life, suffering, and death, brought the divine being nearer to the human race, than the occasional appearances of the angel
of God under the Old Testament would ever have permitted. But this perfect condescension on the part of God to fallen man was the indispensable condition of the deification of the latter; and this alone could render possible the perfect fulfilment of the Old Testament command, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength."
THE SUFFERING AND ATONING CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
The question, whether there is any reference in the prophecies of the Old Testament to a suffering and dying Messiah in general, or to his vicarious suffering and death in particular, has received from rationalism a most decided and negative reply.1 The Israelites are represented as having expected simply a glorious king, who would bring all the enemies of the covenantnation into subjection to it, and exalt it to universal dominion. The actuating motive in this case has been a wish to represent the idea of a Messiah, as being purely the product of natural inclination and of the national spirit of the Jews. It also served to remove the difficulties which lay in the way of the rationalists, arising out of the miraculous agreement between prophecy and its fulfilment.
There can be no doubt whatever that such a view as this is opposed to the authority of the Lord and his apostles. There are numerous passages, in which they at once assume, that the Old Testament foretels a suffering Christ. In Matt. xxvi. 24 the Lord says: "the Son of Man goeth as it is written of him;" that is to say, there is no cause for astonishment, in the fact that the Messiah suffers and dies, for you may see from the circumstance that the Old Testament prophecies predicted this long ago, that it forms a necessary part of his mission. In Matt. xxvi. 54 the Lord points out to Peter the folly of his conduct, on the ground that, if he chose to employ them, he had forces at command of a very different kind, and that the reason for his not
1 Compare the commentaries on Is. liii. but more especially De Wette, de morte J. Chr. expiatoria, Berlin 1813, p. 13 sqq., and Baumgarten-Crusius bibl. Theol. p. 419.