« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
is the great precept which is solemnly given, and so often reiterated in the law, with reference to God himself. Again, (13 apo 58) “provoke him not,” or rebel not against him. This is the usual word whereby God expresseth the transgression of his covenant; a rebellion that can be committed only against God alone. Of these precepts a two-fold reason is given, whereof the first is taken from the sovereign authority of the angel; “for he will not pardon your transgres“sions;" that is, as Joshua afterwards tells the same people, "he is an holy God, he is a jealous God, he “will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins," Josh. xxiv, 19; namely, sins of rebellion, that break and disannul his covenant. And who can forgive sins but God? To suppose here a created angel, is to open a door to idolatry; for he, in whose power it is absolutely to pardon sin and punish it, must certainly be worshipped with religious adoration. Another reason is taken from his name, "for my name is in “him.” A more excellent name than any of the angels enjoy, Heb. i, 4. He is God, JEHOVAH, that is his name, and his nature answereth thereto. Hence, ver. 22, it is added, “if, indeed, thou obey his voice, and “do all that I speak.” His voice is the voice of God, in his speaking God speaketh. Moreover, Exod. xxxiii, 14, 15, God says, concerning this angel (130) my presence, my face shall
with thee; which presence Moses calls his glory, ver. 18, his essential glory, which was manifested to him, chap. xxxiv, 6; though but obscurely, in comparison of what it was to them, who, in his human nature, wherein dwelt the “fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii, 9; beheld his glory, “the glory as of the only begotten of the father,” John i, 14. For this face of God is he, whon if any one seeth, "he seeth the father,” John xiv, 9; because he is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image "of his person,” Heb. i, 3; he who accompanied the people in the wilderness, 1 Cor. x, 4; and whose merciful good pleasure towards them Moses prayed for, Deut. xxxiii, 16; that is, the “Father of lights, from “whom descendeth every good and perfect gift,” Jam. i, 17. These things evidently express God, and none other; and yet he is said to be an angel sent of God, in his name, and to his work; so that he can be no other, but a certain person of the Deity, who accepted of this delegation, and was therein revealed to the church, as he who was to take upon him the seed of Abraham, and to be their eternal Redeemer.
$8. Josh. v, 13–15; “And it came to pass,” &c. The appearance here is of a man, a man of war, as God is called, Exod. xv, 3; armed with his sword drawn in his hand, as a token of the business he came about. At first sight Joshua apprehends him to be a man only, which occasioned his inquiry, Ait thou for us, or for our adversaries? which discovers his courage and undaunted magnanimity; for doubtless the appearance was august and glorious. But he answered to this whole question, ($) I am not; that is, not a man either of your party, or the enemy's, but quite another person, “the prince of the host of the Lord.” And this is another illustrious manifestation of the Son of God to the church of old, accompanied with many instructive circumstances. As
1. From the form wherein he appeared, namely, of a man, as a pledge of his future incarnation.
2. The title that he assumes to himself, “the Cap“tain of the Lord of hosts,” he to whom the guidance and conduct of them to rest, not only temporal, but eternal, was committed; whence the apostle, in allusion to this place and title, calls him “the Captain of "our Salvation,” Heb. ii, 10; and 3. The person to whom he spake, when he
gave himself this title, was the “captain of the people,” at that time, teaching both him and them that there was another supreme captain of their eternal deliverance.
4. From the time and place of his appearance, which was upon the first entrance of the people into Canaan, and the first opposition they met with; so engaging his presence with the church in all things which oppose them in their way to eternal rest.
5. From the adoration and worship which Joshua gave him, which he accepted of, contrary to the duty and practice of created angels, Rev. xix, 10; and xxii, 8, 9.
6. From the prescription of the ceremonies expressing religious reverence, “put off thy shoes,” with the reason annexed, “for the place whereon thou standest (897 097, it is holiness," made so by the presence of God; a precept similar to that given to Moses by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Exod. iii, 5.
By all these things was the church instructed in the person, nature, and office of the Son of God; even in the mystery of his eternal distinct subsistence in the Deity, his future incarnation and condescension to the office of being the head, and Savior of his church.
These manifestations of the Son of God to the church of old, as the angel or messenger of the Father, subsisting in his own divine person, are all of them revelations of the promised seed, the great and only Savior and Deliverer of the church in his eternal
preexistence, and pledges of his future incarnation, for the accomplishment of the whole work committed to him. And many other instances of the like nature may be added out of the former and latter prophets, which, because in most important circumstances they are coincident with these, need not here particularly be insisted on. $9. One signal instance of the Jewish master's
apprehensions, concerning the Divine appearances, as an evidence of the truth insisted on, shall be here related in the words of Moses Nechmanides Gerundensis, on Exod. xxii. His words run thus: “This angel, if we “speak exactly, is the angel the Redeemer, concerning “whom it it written, my name is in him, Exod. xxiii, “21; that angel, I say, who said to Jacob, I am the “God of Bethel, Gen. xxxi, 13. He, of whom it is "said, And God called to Moses out of the bush, Exod. “iii, 4. And he is called an angel, because he govern“eth the world. For it is written, Deut. vi, 21, The “Lord our God, brought us out of the land of Egypt; “and elsewhere, Numb. xx, 16, He sent his angel, and brought us out of Egypt. Moreover, it is written, Isa. “lxiii, 9, And the angel of his face (presence) saved "them, namely, that angel who is the face of God; of “of whom it is said, Exod. xxxiii, 14, My face shall go “before thee, and I will cause thee to rest. Lastly, it “is that angel of whom the prophet speaks, Mal. iii, 1, “And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly 'come “to his temple; the angel of the covenant, whom ye “delight in.' His following words are to the same pur“pose: Mark diligently what is the meaning of these "words, “My face shall go before thee.' For Moses "and the Israelites always desired the chief angel; but "who that was, they could not truly understand; for, "neither could they learn of any others, nor obtain it " by prophecy. But the face of God signifieth God “himself; as all interpreters acknowledge. But no “man can have the least knowledge hereof, except he fibę skilled in the mysteries of the law.” He adds, moreover, “My face shall go before thee; that is, the “angel of the covenant, whom ye desire; in whom my “face shall be seen; of whom it is said, in an accepta"ble time have I heard thee; my name is in him; I will "cause thee to rest; or cause that he shall be gentle and “kind to thee; nor shall lead thee with rigor, but qui"etly and mercifully.” This R. Moses bar Nachman wrote about the year 1220, in Spain, and died at Jerusalem 1260, and is one of the chief masters of the Jews. There are many things occurring in his writings, beyond the common rate of their present apprehensions; and in the places above cited, he plainly everts one of the principal foundations of their present infidelity. For he not only grants, but contends and proves, that the angel spoken of was God, and being sent of God, as his angel, he must be a distinct person in the Deity, as we have proved. The reason, indeed, he fixeth on, why he is called an angel, because he governeth the world, though true in itself, is not so proper. For he is so called because of his eternal designation, and actual delegation by the father, to the work of saving the church, in all conditions, from first to last. And as he acknowledgeth, that his being called the face of God, proves him to be God, so it doth no less evidently evince his personal distinction from him whose face he is; that is, “the brightness of his glory and the express im«age of his person.” And what he adds of the mercy and benignity which, by the appointment of God, he exerciseth towards his people, is remarkably suitable to the tenderness and mercy which the great Captain of our salvation exerciseth, by God's appointment, towards all those whom he leads and conducts to glory.