Page images

In the heart of these prophecies which speak of our Redeemer as the Lord of Hosts, are touches of tenderness, and expressions of sympathy, and traces of suffering, which prove the fellowship of his human nature with ours, and evince that he was made like unto the brethren in all things, sin only except : that he was very man as well as very God. Job knew him as his Redeemer, the Living One, who shall stand in the latter day on the earth; God in the same flesh as his own. And when Zion is called upon to awake from her long slumber (Isa. lii.) and promised to be redeemed without money,” (ver. 3); and the good tidings of peace and salvation are published, saying unto Zion, “ Thy God reigneth” (ver. 7); when her swatchmen lift up the voice, and the waste places break forth into joy; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (ver. 9); then it is that the sufferings of the Redeemer, and his meekness under them, and the vicarious nature of them, are most clearly revealed as preceding his glorification. “Behold, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men); so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him." “ Who hath believed our doctrine ?” (the mystery of Godliness, God in flesh): “to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? For He" (the arm of Jehovah) "shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground ..... He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief..... But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed..... The Lord hath made the iniquities of us all to meet on him..... who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living : for the transgression of my people was the stroke upon him. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when his soul shall make an offering for sin, he shall see bis seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand : He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death ; and he was numbered with the transgressors : and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear..... Fear not, for thou shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more: for thy Maker is thine Husband; the Lord of hosts is name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called .... In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but

with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer(Isa. lii., liv. 8). These points of doctrine, which we have extracted, with the intermediate filling up in the Scriptures, contain the whole dispensation of God between the first and second Advent of the Redeemer; and also the two opposites, of Almighty power and suffering weakness, which met in bis Person. The same doctrines are taught in the contexts of all those passages where the redemption is spoken of, particularly the Psalms. From such declarations, compared with the signs of the times, at the tine of the first Advent, many devout men were " waiting for the consolation of Israel,” and looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke ii. 25, 38); and could say with Zacharias, “ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people” (Lukei. 68). But even the most devout knew not the details of that “mystery, which angels desired to look into;" and if the servants of God knew it not, much less “ the princes of this world ; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” The Old Testament saints saw redemption as one work; and though they must have seen humiliation preceding the glory in all the prophecies, those who witnessed the birth of Jesus of Nazareth might well have supposed that his lowly parentage, and humble birth, and poverty, did fulfil the predictions of his not having form nor comeliness; and when seen, having no beauty that we should desire him; and bear with the Jews, who said, “How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” (John x. 24); and feel for the disappointment of his disciples, when they said, “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel” (Luke xxiv. 21). But the resurrection of Christ not only gave a new standing of power and of knowledge to the church, but a new standing of fact: Christ, redeemed from the grave, became the first fruits and the earnest of the redemption of his people; and he, having virtually redeemed all mankind by his one sacrifice, when he offered up himself (Heb. vii. 27), and having obtained eternal redemption for us (ix. 12), manifested the redemption of the souls of believers to be a continuous work, proceeding during the whole of the present dispensation ; and the redemption of the body, to be a simultaneous work, effected by his second Advent, closing the present dispensation and bringing in the Millennium. This is the reason why redemption is in the Old Testament spoken of as one work, there being but one Redeemer; while in the New Testament it is spoken of as past, present, and future : because Christ hath come to suffer and die, and by that one sacrifice, once offered, hath made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and atonement for the sins of the whole world ; because he is present,

VOL. 111.-NO. 1.



by the Spirit, with his Church always, even unto the end of the world, applying that redemption to their souls; and because, to those who look for him, and are waiting for the adoption, he shall come again, bringing redemption to their bodies, that we may be also glorified together (Rom. viii. 17).

But the title Redeemer and the work of redemption have a wider range than we are accustomed to suppose, and which we cannot fully enter into without referring to the various significations of the word Goel, or Redeemer, in the Old Testament. The Goel always presupposes the death of a kinsman, whose inheritance the Ġoel saves from alienation, and whose blood he avenges, if the death has been by violence. Redemption from bondage is only a secondary and figurative sense of the word, derived from this primary signification. An ordinance for giving permanency to the appointment of God concerning inheritance, expresses the duties of the Goel. The children of Israel not only had the sum total of the land assured to them by God while they kept his covenant; but the inheritance of each family, which had been first assigned them by lot, was secured from alienation by death or casualty, by an ordinance of immortality,-a relationship brought into existence by the very evil it was appointed to remedy, and instantly filling up the chasm which death had made. The Goel lost his independent personality, and became in all respects the representative of the deceased : he not only took his lands, ut his wife; and the children were considered not as his own, but as children of the deceased. This is manifest from the history of Ruth; where (iv. 6) the nearest Goel refuses to redeem the inheritance, because it obliged him also to take the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance; and the kinsman said, “ I cannot redeem it for myself, Jest I mar mine own inheritance." Such a refusal was made very disgraceful by the Mosaic Law; where it is written (Deut. xxv. 7), “ If the man like not to take his kinsman's wife, then let her go up to the gate, unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her: then shall his brother's wife come unto him, in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.” The plucking off the shoe was continued in all cases, and is mentioned Ruth iv. 8; but the other more disgraceful acts are not recorded, as Boaz was willing in this case to fulfil the duties of the Goel, which the next of kin declined.

This part of the duties of the Goel represents the Lord's dealings with the Jewish people under the character of a wife: first married to God under the Law; then separated, put away, and standing in widowhood, her inheritance alienated; when her Redeemer, the next of kin to her former husband, again espouses her, and recovers the inheritance. In Isa. I., the Lord expostulates with his Jewish people, saying, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? Behold, for your transgressions is your mother put away :” and, continuing the expostulations through the following chapters, regards her as not only put away, but a widow; and promises her redemption and re-espousals through the Goel, saying (liv. 4), “ Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed......thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more: for thy Maker is thine husband(husbands, in the plural, alluding to the two espousals), " the Lord of Hosts is bis name; and thy Goel the Holy One of Israel : the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” And the covenant of peace, and the building up of the house, and the recovery of the inheritance follow : “ My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed......and all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (ver. 10, 13, 17). The same allusions occur again in Isai. Ixii. and again contain the re-espousals of the land, as well as the bride and the children inheriting the land, under the new name of the Goel: “Thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name: thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken ; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah; thy land, Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married......and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee......Behold, the Lord bath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold, thy Salvation (Jesus) cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The boly people, The redeemed of the Lord : and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." Between the casting off and widowhood of the Jewish church and her reespousals, the Christian dispensation comes in, with its espousals and inheritance; exactly like the former in its correspondence with the type, and differing only in the altered condition of the Goel : for both the first and second Jewish espousals are to a glorious Redeemer— The Lord of Hosts” in time past, the“ Lord of Glory” in the age to come--but the Christian church is espoused to a lowly Redeemer, and is required to take up the cross, and follow him in humility, setting her affections on things above, where Christ sitteth, at the right hand of God, and in the age to come looking for a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, when the marriage of the Lamb shall be come, and his wife shall have made herself ready. St. Paul tells the Gentile church (2 Cor. xi. 2), “I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ;” but, speaking of the Jewish church, as married under the Law, makes the death of the Law the necessary condition to a receiving of the Gospel, and considers us as committing a crime similar to adultery if we give any dominion to the Law after receiving the Gospel (Rom. vii. 2): "The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband...... Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” And thus by union with Christ, we become partakers of his inheritance," heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together (Rom. viii. 17).

The ample field which the title Redeemer opens to us we can only briefly and rapidly pass over. What we have already said is but one class of duties devolving upon the Goel,—those towards the wife of the deceased. Another no less important class had reference to the violent death of the deceased, when the duty of “ avenger of blood” devolved upon the Goel, as set forth Num. xxxv., Deut. xix., Josb. xx. This last class of duties typified another part of the work of our Redeemer; the former representing him as the spouse of the widowed church, and the recoverer of her inheritance, and the father of her children : this latter aspect of the Goel representing the Redeemer as avenging the blood of the saints, his slaughtered kinsmen. The avenger of blood was an institution to provide against the spoliation of the most precious gift of God, the life of man ; and to ensure its safe keeping in general, by cherishing a spirit of zeal and indignation against any one who should dare to violate God's own image: " Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall bis blood be shed : for in the image of God made he man” (Gen.ix.6). But, to preserve this zeal against murder from degenerating into ferocity and revenge, the duty of avenging the slain was first limited to the next of kin, the Goel ; and to guard against blind and excessive zeal even in him, the cities of refuge, with their laws and privileges, were appointed. In any case of violent death, if the Goel was at hand he might slay the slayer with impunity; but if the slayer could escape into any city of refuge, he was protected " from the avenger: that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment "Num. xxxv. 12). Then, if the death was not of malice, the manslayer found security in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest, and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »