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35.* We are taught from our earliest years to consider the term God as the proper name of the Deity, and as applicable to him alone. But it was not so when the Bible was written.
The Hebrew word, rendered God in this verse, has another meaning perfectly suited to the connexion. We have only to turn to any Heb. lexicon to ascertain that the radical meaning is power, strength, and that it is applied in the Scriptures to a mighty personage, a hero, a potentate. The same word is applied to Nebuchadnezzar, Ezek. xxxi. 11, where he is styled 'mighty one,' or hero of the nations. It is applied to human beings in Ezek. xxxii. 21. Job xli. 25.
In conclusion, we observe, in the words of a learned Unitarian, that 'the question is not, Whether Christ is called God in Scripture, for that is undeniable; but, In what sense the word is to be understood.'t 'Since, therefore, it is a fact, about which there is among Christians no dispute, that Jesus was a person "unto whom the word of God came;" since we know, that he vindicated the application to himself of the title God, taken in this sense, (John x. 34, 35.) and since we do not know, until it be proved, that the title belongs to him in any other sense, we ought thus to understand it, wherever we find it
* Those who wish to see the various passages where the word God is thus applied, are referred to a work, which we think of great value in settling the true meaning of the various names and titles that are applied to the Father and the Son ;- entitled A Vindication of Unitarianism. By James Yates. Chap. v. Also to a work entitled "One God in one Person only.' By Rev. John SHERMAN.
| H. Taylor's Considerations on Ancient and Modern Creeds compared, p. 124.
applied to him in the Sacred Scriptures, unless there be some particular circumstances in the mode of application, which point him out as THE SUPREME GOD, THE ONE LIVING AND TRUE GOD, THE GOD OF Gods, or THE GOD WHO IS ABOVE ALL.'
We have been thus particular, because it seemed to devolve upon us to show that this title appropriately belonged to the Saviour. That has been shown, and now the next step is to inquire why the same titles are given to him that belong to the Father
It is a consoling fact, that we are not only told what this Child, this Mighty God, is to be called, but we are also informed respecting the great object of his mission. 'For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.' Then follows the motto. Then we are informed, that of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.' And to make all certain, the whole bears the broad seal of Jehovah. "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.' What could be more grand than such a view of the character of Jesus, the purpose for which he came ? and the word of the great Father to confirm the whole! Under another title* we have treated largely of the nature and duration of this kingdom, and we shall, therefore, here only point out the manner in which it is to be established. Now let the reader turn to the passage just cited, and he will see that this kingdom is to be established in a very different manner from those of earthly conquerors. No bows, nor spears, nor armor, nor chariots, are wanted in building up this kingdom. There will be no mighty men of war; no flourish of drums and trumpets; no nodding plumes; no foaming steeds trampling upon the bodies of the slain and the wounded; no clashing of swords, and bristling of bayonets. In this kingdom, we shall not hear the shouts of victory of man over man, the roar of cannon, and the groans of the wounded and the dying. No. This is to be a kingdom of peace and love. The 'weapons are not carnal, but mighty;' and well may they be thus called, for they are wielded by a being who is himself denominated the Mighty God! In this new kingdom, all the implements of war are to be destroyed or burned with 'fuel of fire.'
* See title KING.
If our limits would only permit, how beautifully would the various prophecies that allude to this blissful period come in here! And then the imagery brought in to illustrate that blessed period—that golden age, which has so brightly played in vision before the poets, the saints, and the good and wise of all ages! But we must stop, for the vast theme is too much for the mind now to bear. Blessed be God, such a period will arrive; and we will now enjoy in prospect what we hope to see in reality. We close with the glorious assurance given to us by the prophet, after he had presented the various titles that Jesus was to bear, and the nature and duration of his kingdom: "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.'
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth : that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.'
Matt. ii. 23
This title is not very important, still it is evidently embraced within the range of our plan. The word occurs once more, in the plural form, Acts xxiv. 5, where Paul, among other accusations brought against him by Tertullus, the orator, was charged with being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
The following from Calmet may assist the reader to a correct understanding of the word here applied to the Redeemer :
‘NAZARITE, or NAZARENE, may signify, (1.) An inhabitant of Nazareth; or a native of that city. (2.) A sect of Christians. (3.) A man under a vow to observe the rules of Nazariteship; whether for the whole life, as Samson, and John the Baptist; or for a time, as those in Numb. vi. 18—20; Amos ii. 11, 12. (4.) A man of distinction and dignity in the court of a prince. (Compare the Bibl. Repository, ii. p. 388.)
"The name of Nazarene is given to Christ, not only because of his having lived the greater part of his life at Nazareth, and because that place was considered as his country, but also because the prophets had foretold that "he should be called a Nazarene," Matt. ii. 23. We find no particular place in the prophets expressly affirming that the Messiah should
be called a Nazarene; and Matthew only mentions the prophets in general. Perhaps be would infer that the consecration of Nazarites, and their great purity, was a type and prophecy referring to our Saviour; (Numb. vi. 18, 19.) or, that the name Nazir, or Nazarite, [separated,] given to the patriarch Joseph, had some reference to Christ, Gen. xlix. 26; Deut. xxxiii. 16. Jerome was of opinion, that Matthew alludes to Isa. xi. 1; 1x. 21 : “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch (Heb. Nezer) shall grow out of his roots.” This branch, or Nezer, and this rod, are certainly intended to denote the Messiah, by the general consent of the fathers and interpreters. Or, possibly, in a more general sense, “He shall be vilified, despised, neglected,” as every thing was that came from Nazareth; and this might be a kind of prophetic proverb.
The title here furnishes, like every other one which we have considered, a great moral truth. It shows us the extreme folly and wickedness of prejudice. Even the Saviour himself could not be received because he had 'been brought up' at Nazareth: Luke iv. 16. That there was a very great prejudice against that place, is evident from an incident relating to the beginning of our Lord's ministry: Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.'* Human nature remains about the same in all ages. Men generally attach similar honor
* John i. 45, 46,