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Letter I.



Dear Brother,

1. Agreeably to promise, I will now endeavor to show that the time predicted for the first advent of the Messiah has long since expired. You will observe, I mention his first advent, for the Scriptures plainly point out three advents of the Messiah. First, in a state of humiliation, to redeem his people; second, in a state of glory, to reign a thousand years upon the earth; and thirdly, to judge the whole world. A want of proper and careful attention to these different appearances of the Messiah, has first led our nation to reject Jesus of Nazareth, because he did not answer their worldly expectation. For they could not bear the idea of a suffering Messiah, (as has already been stated, and shall be shown more fully hereafter,) and having been convinced since that the prophets spake of a suffering Messiah, as well as of a glorious one, they have, as you well know, invented an unscriptural notion, viz. that of two distinct Messiahs; one of which should be the Son of Joseph, a miserable and afflicted man, who, attempting to rescue our people from their captivity, should be slain in war, and his party crushed by their oppressors; and that after him should arise Mesriah, the Son of David, a flourishing and potent prince. See

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Mashmia Yeshua, fol. 53, c. 3. 11. Targum on Cant. 4: 5. fol. 52.

Pesudo. Jonath. Exod. 40:
Tal. Bab. Succath, c. 5.

2. That the opinion of two distinct Messiahs is a mere fiction of our Rabbins, is evident; 1. From the many passages of Scripture where the Messiah is spoken of as one and the same person, who was first to suffer and then to enter into his glory. See Gen. 3: 15. Ps. 22. Ps. 91: 13–15. Isa. 52: 13-15. chap. 53. Dan. 9: 24-27. Zech, 9:9; 13: 7. 2dly. From the question put to John the Baptist, and afterward frequently to Jesus Christ himself, by all classes of people, "Art thou the Christ?" "Art thou he that was to come?" Always speaking of one and the same person. We find the expression the son of David, repeatedly used by our ancient Rabbins, and by the Jews in our Lord's time, but never the son of Joseph. 3dly. From the omission of the whole story of Messiah ben Joseph by Maimonides, in his relation of the Messiah. See Dr. Pocock's App. on Mal.

3. To return to our subject-the first advent of the MesIsiah to be the Savior of sinners. That God had determined and revealed the exact period for this advent, we might reasonably expect; for we know that God revealed the times of various other occurrences, that have been verified at the exact predicted period. He informed Noah how many years should pass from the time he spake to him of the flood until it should come, and at the end of that period the flood came. Gen. 6: 3. He told Abraham how many years his posterity should be in bondage in Egypt, and at the end of that period he delivered them, Gen. 15: 13. By the prophet Ezekiel he made known the number of years from the revolt of the ten tribes to the destruction of the first temple, which accordingly came to pass. Ezek. 4:5-8; and the period of 70 years of the Babylonish captivity foretold by Jeremiah, was exactly fulfilled.

4. Now is it credible that the Spirit of God, which predicted those several events, should not have foretold what

time the Messiah should come ?-Christ, the end and scope of the law and the prophets, the hope of the church, and the joy of the patriarchs ?-he to whom the nations were to gather, and of whom they expected an everlasting redemp tion? Is it credible, I say, that a prefixed time, more necessary than all the former events, should have been omitted? No, my dear brother, God has revealed, at sundry times, and in divers manners, the exact period for the Messiah's advent.

5. Remarkable is the prophecy of Habbakkuk, ch. 2: 2, 3, "The Lord answered me and said, write the vision, "and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." It is the general opinion of our most eminent Rabbins, that this prophecy relates to the coming of the Messiah. R. Abendani, Note in Michlal Yophi in Loco. Tal. Sanhed. f. 97, 2. Maimonides, in Pocock, Port. Mos. p. 176, and Gedalia in Shal. Hakab. in Wagenseil, Lip. Car. Conf. p. 617-625. The expression, "it will surely come," may and ought to be translated, "He that shall come, will come," and is a general description of the Messiah. Hence, when John the Baptist sent to Jesu's to inquire whether he be the promised Messiah, the question is expressed thus: “ Art thou he that should come?" Matt. 11: 3-5. "At the end it shall speak," saith the prophet, i. e. at the end of the Jewish dispensation, when the civil and religious state was near its dissolution. Hence we are told that the prophets diligently searched into the time of the Messiah's advent. 1 Pet. 1: 11. And the apostle assures us, "that when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth -his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.' Gal. 4:4, 5. Besides, our Rabbins themselves acknowledge that the time for the Messiah's advent was determined and foretold; but, convinced that the

period is elapsed, and unwilling to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, although he came at the exact time, they have pronounced a curse upon every one that attempts to compute the end. Now, from the writings of Moses and the prophets, it appears that the Messiah was to come whilst the tribe of Judah was distinctly known by genealogy: during the existence of the second temple, and before the sacrifices ceased.

§ 6. That the Messiah was to appear whilst the tribe of Judah was yet distinctly known by genealogy, is evident from Jacob's prophecy concerning Judah. The patriarch, sensible that the "time of his departure was at hand,” “he called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last day;" and having constituted them into twelve distinct tribes, he declared, by the spirit of prophecy, the most remarkable events that should befall each of them, the truth and correctness of which is abundantly confirmed by the pages of history. The prediction concerning Judah is that which I propose to consider. It is thus expressed: "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies: thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be: binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." Gen. 49:8-12. The first and the last two verses are expressed in striking images and emblems, to represent the invincible force, the secure dignity and majesty, and the rich abundance to be enjoyed by the posterity of Judah; but the language of the middle verse is plain and simple, announc

ing the coming of the Shiloh, the Prince of Peace, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed. I shall endeavor to show, that by Shiloh is meant the Messiah, and that the time for his coming is long since past.

9. That by Shiloh is meant the Messiah, will appear, if we consider, first, the occasion of this prophecy. We have already seen that, at the close of Jacob's life, he was endowed with the spirit of prophecy to foretell the most remarkable events that should befall his sons in succeeding ages; and it might reasonably be expected that the most remarkable of all events, the coming of the Messiah, could not be omitted. Besides, our Rabbins are agreed that where the expression "the latter days" is used, it refers to the days of the Messiah: see Kimchi, Isa. 2: 2, M. B. Israel de Ress, l. 3, c. 3. But this expression is used here; and if the prediction concerning Judah does not refer to the Messiah, the subject is then altogether omitted. The nature of this prediction is perfectly in unison with the revelation of the Messiah from its commencement. At first the promise of a Messiah was made to Adam, Gen. 3: 15; then to Shem, the son of Noah, when Japhet and Ham were passed by, Gen. 9: 26, 27; afterward it was renewed to our father Abraham, chap. 12:3; and from him it was transmitted to Isaac, Ishmael being passed by, Gen. 22: 18; from Isaac it was conveyed to Jacob, Esau being passed by; and Jacob, guided by the Holy Spirit, restricts the promise of the Messiah to Judah. Secondly, The signification of the word Shiloh showeth that it meant the Messiah. It is true, the learned, both amongst Jews and Christians, differ about the signification of this word, yet each agrees well with the Messiah. Kimchi it signifies "his Son," i. e. Judah's: now, what son can it be but that famous renowned son of his, called Nagid, the Prince Messiah, who was to spring from this tribe? Yarchi and Onkelos paraphrase it, "whose it is," i. e. the kingdom, and apply it to the Messiah, of whom it is said, Ezek. 21: 27, "I will overturn, overturn, overturn


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