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304 THE MIGHTY GOD,

was to be his proper name; for, according to the apostle himself who quotes this prediction, his proper name was to be Jesus: (ver. 21;) but, that his nature and condition were to be actually such, as the title in question expressed. If then this title expressed the nature and condition of Jesus, I know not how we can avoid the conclusion, that he was himself "god With us"—that he was himself that present and manifested Deity, whom the Jews were accustomed to describe as the "Word of Jehovah" and whom the Christians identified with the true Messiah, the founder of their own religion.

This explanation of Isa. vii, 14, is amply confirmed by a corresponding passage, which Bishop Lowth regards as the conclusion of the same general prophecy—a passage which, for the obvious purpose of escaping from the force of its evidence in favour of Christian doctrine, some of the Jews have explained of Hezekiah; but which the analogy of scripture plainly precludes our interpreting, otherwise than as relating to the Messiah of Israel, whose peaceful, universal, and eternal, reign, are so often described in similar glowing colours—"For unto us a child is horn: unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called (or in other words, he shall be) Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, (or the Father of eternity,) the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it, with judgment and with justice, from henceforth, even for ever:" ix, 6, 7. Here then, in connection with a prediction relating to the birth of Jesus Christ, there is a full and manifold

JEHOVAH, 305

declaration of his deity; for it is Jehovah who is elsewhere described by the prophet as " wonderful in counsel;" (ch. xxviii, 29;) it is Jehovah who can alone be represented either as the Father of eternity, or as the eternal Father of his people ;s it is Jehovah who blesses his children with peace; (Ps. xxix, 11;) it is Jehovah only, whom it would not be blasphemous to denominate the Mighty God:6 comp. Isa. x, 21; Jer. xxxii, 18; Neb. ix, 32.

We have already found occasion to notice, as an indication of the divine dignity of the Messiah, in connection with the period of his ministry, that the last and greatest of the prophets of the old dispensation, was sent before him to prepare his way, and to usher in his presence. Now, this view of the subject is fully substantiated by the fact, that John the Baptist was himself the subject of prophecy, and is described by his predecessors, as the immediate precursor of the Supreme Being.

We may first advert to the predictions on this subject of the prophet Malachi. They are as follows: "Behold, (saith Jehovah) I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple: even the Messenger (or Angel) of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith

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6 Heb. "113J 7^. The substantive 7{$ Deut, is not to be confounded with 7^ robur or robustus. Michaelis derives it from an Arabic root, signifying, to do good ,. and if this derivation is correct, it may be considered as perfectly synonymous with

our word God. 7^ is used in a multitude of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures, to designate Jehovah; nor is there, I believe, a single instance of its application to any being who was not the object, either of true or false worship. In the present instance, its usual meaning is confirmed by the addition of the adjective H13J

mighty. Jehovah is again denominated "113J 7X "" mighty Ood, in the very next chapter: vide ch. x, ver. 21.

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Jehovah of Hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness:" iii, 1—3. Again, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of JeHovah:" iv, 5.

That John the Baptist was the person whom Malachi describes as the Messenger sent by Jehovah, and as Elijah the prophet, may be asserted on the authority of our Saviour himself; for, when speaking to his disciples respecting the Baptist, Jesus said, "This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my Messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee ;"7 and again, " This is Elias which was for to come:" Matt. xi, 10. 14.

This point being settled, we may, in the next place, learn from the history of the New Testament, that the other Person here pointed out—the Person whom John was to precede—was Jesus Christ; an inference which appears to be fully confirmed, first, by the title Messenger or Angel of the Covenant, a title wholly inapplicable to the Father, yet properly descriptive of the Son: and secondly, by the comparison, with this passage, of Matt. iii, 11, 12; Luke iii, 16, 17, where we find John describing the cleansing, fiery, baptism of his successor, in terms which substantially and re

7 Our Lord's quotation of this passage is in precise accordance with that of the evangelist Mark (ch. i, 2); and the difference between the words thus cited, and the passage as it now stands in the prophecies of Malachi, must, I presume, be attributed to some various reading in the text, either of the Hebrew original or of the Septuagint version, of which we have now no record.

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markably accord with the words of this prophecy.8 Lastly, while these prophecies plainly mark the distinction between the Father and the Son, they, nevertheless, represent the latter under the character of the Supreme Being; for in Mal. iii, 1, 2, he is described as the Lord,9 and is represented, not only as coming to his own temple, but as exercising divine attributes in the spiritual purification and paternal chastisement of his people; and again, in the obviously corresponding passage of the following chapter, (iv, 5) he appears to be denominated Jehovah.

These passages in the book of Malachi may be regarded as containing an explanatory republication of one of the prophecies of Isaiah, who has described John the Baptist as a person " crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah—make straight in the desert, a highway for our God :" ch. xl, 3. Now it cannot, I think, with any truth be asserted that John was the forerunner of the Father, or that he prepared the Father's way; for the Father was the sender of both John and Jesus; and was equally the author of the Jewish, the baptismal, and the Christian, dispensations. But John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ; and when he preached repentance, and declared the near approach of the kingdom of heaven—when he spake, saying, " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world "—when he baptized

8 " I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire:" Matt. iii, 11, 12.

9 The Lord IT7KH- The substantive H^^ Lord, when preceded by the article H, as in this passage, uniformly denotes the Supreme Being: comp. Exod. xxiii, 17. xxxir, 23; Isa. i, 24. iii, 1. x, 16. 33. xix, 4. Vide Taylor's Cone. and Rosenmiiller, Schol. in he.

308 BY JOHN THE BAPTIST;

the people with water unto repentance—when he directed their attention to that Saviour who was to baptize them with the Holy Ghost—when he declared his own declension, and the increase of him who was come " from heaven," and was " above all;"—then did he prepare the way of the Son Of God. If, therefore, we are to depend on the declarations of inspired prophecy, we are surely safe in concluding, that the incarnate Word, of whom John was the appointed and designated precursor, was no less a Being than Jehovah, the God of Israel.

This plain reasoning will be found to derive substantial confirmation, first, from the evangelical import of the context in Isa. xl; for this prophecy contains an especial reference to the forgiveness of sin,1 and to the eternal endurance of the truths of the Gospel;3 and it makes mention of Jehovah in his pastoral character, and as actually appearing in the cities of Judah :3 and, secondly, from the plain testimony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who have severally quoted this prediction as applicable to the Baptist; and for the very purpose of illustrating the fact, that he was the forerunner of Jesus Christ: Matt. iii, 1 —17; Mark i, 1—8; Luke iii, 1—22.

On a due consideration of the scriptural evidences now adverted to, I know not on what principle we can refuse to allow, that the angel of God declared the deity of the coming Messiah, when he thus spoke to

1 " Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:" ver. 1, 2.

3 " The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever:" ver. 8. The apostle Peter quotes this passage, and adds, "and this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you:" I Pet. i, 25.

3 "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold the Lord God shall come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young:" ver. 9—11.

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