« PreviousContinue »
the moon shall not cause her light to shine.' The prophet Ezekiel speaketh in the same manner of Egypt, xxxii. 7, 8,—and when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.' The prophet Daniel speaketh in the same manner of the slaughter of the Jews by the little horn, whether by the little horn be understood Antiochus Epiphanes, or the power of the Romans ; viii. 10.—And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host, and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them :' and the prophet Joel, of this very destruction of Jerusalem, ii. 30, 31,-' And I will shew wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.' Thus it is, that, in the prophetic language, great commotions and revolutions upon earth are often represented by commotions and changes in the heavens.
Our Saviour proceedeth in the same figurative style, ver. 30,* And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. The plain meaning of it is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of divine
vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ's power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will be led from thence to acknowledge Christ and the Christian religion. In the ancient prophets, God is frequently described as coming in the clouds,’upon any remarkable interposition and manifestation of his power; and the same description is here applied to Christ. The destruction of Jerusalem will be as ample a manifestation of Christ's power and glory, as if he was himself to come visibly in the clouds of heaven.
The same sort of metaphor is carried on in the next verse, ver. 31,–And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. This is all in the style and phraseology of the prophets, and stript of its figures meaneth only, that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ, by his angels or minisiers, will gather to himself a glorious church, out of all the nations under heaven. The Jews shall be thrust out,' as he expresseth himself in another place, Luke, xiii. 28, 29,-' and they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the
south; and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.' No one, ever so little versed in history, needeth to be told, that the Christian religion spread and prevailed mightily after this period ; and hardly any one thing contributed more to this success of the gospel than the destruction of Jerusalem, falling out in the very manner, and with the very circumstances, so particularly foretold by our blessed Saviour.
What Dr. Warburton hath written upon the same subject will much illustrate and enforce the foregoing exposition. “The prophecy of Jesus, concerning the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, is conceived in such high and swelling terms, that not only the modern interpreters, but the ancient likewise, have supposed, that our Lord interweaves into it a direct prediction of his second coming to judgment. Hence arose a current opinion in those times, that the consummation of all things was at hand; which hath afforded a handle to an infidel objection in these, insinuating, that Jesus, in order to keep his followers attached to his service, and patient under sufferings flattered them with the near approach of those rewards, which completed all their views and expectations. To which, the defenders of religion have opposed this answer : That the distinction of short and long, in the duration of time, is lost in eternity ; and with the Almighty,' a thousand years are but as yesterday,' &c.
“But the principle both go upon is false; and if what hath been said be duly weighed, it will appear, that this prophecy doth not respect Christ's second coming to judgment, but his first; in the abolition of the Jewish policy, and the establishment of the Christian : that kingdom of Christ, which commenced on the total ceasing of the theocracy. For as God's reign over the Jews entirely ended with the abolition of the temple service, so the reign of Christ, ‘in spirit and in truth,' had then its first beginning.
" This was the true establishment of Christianity, not that effected by the donations or conversions of Constantine. Till the Jewish law was abolished, over which the 'Father' presided as king, the reign of the 'Son' could not take place; because the sovereignty of Christ over mankind, was that very sovereignty of God over the Jews tran.sferred, and more largely extended.
“ This therefore being one of the most important eras in the economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God's religious dispensations ; we see the elegance and propriety of the terms in question, to denote so great an event, together with the destruction of Jerusalem, by which it was effected : for in the whole prophetic language, the change and fall of principalities and powers, whether spiritual or civil, are signified by the shaking heaven and earth, the darkening the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars; as the rise and establishment of new ones are by processions in the clouds of heaven, by the sound of trumpets, and the assembling together of hosts and congregations.'*
This language, as he observes in another place, was borrowed from the ancient hieroglyphics. “For, as in the hieroglyphic writing, the sun, moon, and stars, were used to represent states and empires, kings, queens, and nobility; their eclipse and extinction, temporary disasters or entire overthrow, &c. so in like manner the noly prophets call kings and empires by the names of the heavenly luminaries; their misfortunes and overthrow are represented by eclipses and extinction ; stars falling from the firmament are employed to denote the destruction of the nobility, &c. In a word, the prophetic style seems to be a speaking Hieroglyphic. These observations will not only assist us in the study of the Old and New Testament, but likewise vindicate their character from the illiterate cavils of modern libertines, who have foolishly mistaken that for the peculiar workmanship of the prophet's heated imagination which was the sober established language of their times, and which God and his Son condescended to employ as the properest conveyance of the high mysterious ways of providence in the revelation of themselves to mankind."
To St. Matthew's account St. Luke addeth, And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,'-xxi. 24. The number of those who fell by the edge of the sword,' was indeed very great. “Of those who perished during the whole siege, there were," as Josephus saith, “eleven hundred thousand.”# Many were also slain at other times and in other places. By the command of Florus, who was the first author of the war, there were slain at Jerusalem three thousand and six hundred :// by the inha
• Warburton's Julian, book 1, chap. 1, p. 21, &c. 2nd edit. † Divine Legation, vol. 2, book 4, sect. 4.
* Τα ' απολεμενων κατα σασαν την πολιορκιαν, μυριάδες εκατον και δεκα. Totius autem obsidionis tempore undecies centena hominum millia perierunt.-De Bell, Jua. ib. 6, cap. 9, sect. 3, p. 1291, edit. Hudson. [Translated in the text.)
# Just. Lipsius de Constantia, lib. cap. 21. Usher's Annals, in the conclusion. Rius nage's llist. of the Jews. book I. chap. 8. sect. 19.
Joseph. ib. lib. 2. cap. 14, sect. 9
bitants of Cæsarea above twenty thousand :* At Scythopolis above thirteen thousand it At Ascalon two thousand five hundred, and at Ptolemais two thousand :I At Alexandria, under Tiberius Alexanaer, the president, fifty thousand : At Joppa, when it was taken by Cestius Gallus, eight thousand four hundred :|| In a mountain called Asamon, near Sepphoris, above two thousand : at Damascus ten thousand :- In a battle with the Romans at Ascalon ten thousand :• In an ambuscade, near the same place, eight thousand :' at Japha fifteen thousand :: Of the Samaritans, upon Mount Garizin, eleven thousand and six hundred: At Jotapa forty thousand :' At Joppa, when taken by Vespasian, four thousand two hundred :: At Tarichea six thousand five hundred, and after the city was taken, twelve hundred : At Gamala four thousand slain, besides five thousand who threw themselves down a precipice :: Of those who fled with John from Gischala six thousand :: Of the Gadarenes fifteen thousand slain, besides an infinite number drowned : * In the villages of Idumea above ten thousand slain :? at Gerasa a thousand : " At Machærus seventeen hundred :* In the wood of Jardes three thousand :• In the castle of Massada nine hundred and sixty :' In Cyrene, by Catullus, the governor, three thousand. - Besides these, many of every age, sex, and condition, were slain in this war, who are not reckoned; but of these who are reckoned, the number amounts, to above one million, three hundred fifty seven thousand, six hundred and sixty; which would appear almost incredible, if their own historian had not so particularly enumerated them.
But besides the Jews who fell by the edge of the sword,' others were also to be led away captive into all nations : and considering the number of the slain, the number of the captives too was very great. There were taken, particularly at Japha, two thousand one hundred and thirty:' At Jotapha one thousand two hundred : At • Ibid. cap. 18, sect, 1.
+ Ibid. sect. 3. # Ibid. sect. 5.
$ Ibid. sect. 8. | Ibid. sect. 10.
Ibid. sect. 11. a Ibid. cap. 20, sect. 2.
b Lib. 3, cap. 2, sect. 2. e Ibid. sect. 3.
d Ibid. cap. 7, sect. 31. e Ibid. sect. 32.
f Ibid. sect. 36. Ibid.
h Ibid. cap. 9, sect. 9, 10 i Lib. 4, cap. 1, sect. 10.
cap. 8, sect. 3.
Ibid. cap. 2, sect. 5. k Ibid. cap. 7, sect. 5.
1 Ibid. cap, 8, sect. 1. m Ibid, cap. 9, sect. 1.
n Lib. 7, cap. 6, sect. 4. o Ibid. sect. 5.
Ibid. q Ibid. cap. 11, sect. 2.
o Lib. 3. cap. 7, sect. 31 . Ibid. sect. 36.
cap. 9, sect. 1
'Tarichea six thousand chosen young men were sent to Nero, the rest sold, to the number of thirty thousand and four hundred, besides those who were given to Agrippa :* Of the Gadarenes two thousand two hundred :t In Idumea above a thousand. Many besides these were taken at Jerusalem, so that as Josephus himselt informs us, “the number of the captives taken in the whole war amounted to ninety-seven thousand; the tall and handsome young men Titus reserved for his triumph ; of the rest, those above seventeen years of age were sent to the works in Egypt, but most were distributed through the Roman provinces, to be destroyed in their theatres by the sword or by the wild beasts; those under seventeen were sold for slaves."Ş Of these captives, many underwent hard fate. Eleven thousand of them perished for want.|| Titus exhibited all sorts of shows and spectacles at Cæsarea, and many of the captives were there destroyed, some being exposed to the wild beasts, and others compelled to fight in troops against one another. At Cæsarea, too, in honour of his brother's birthday, two thousand five hundred Jews were slain ; and a great number likewise at Berytus, in honour of his father's.** The like was done in other cities of Syria.tt Those whom he reserved for his triumph were Simon and John, the generals of the captives, and seven hundred others of remarkable stature and beauty. If Thus were the Jews miserably tormented, and distributed over the Roman provinces; and are they not still distressed, and dispersed over all the nations of the earth ?
As the Jews were to be led away captive into all nations, so Jerusalem was to be 'trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times
* Ibid. cap. 9, sect. 10.
+ Lib. 4, cap: 7, sect. 5. # Ibid. cap. 8, sect. 1.
ΚΑΙ Των δε νεων τις ψηλοτατες και καλες επιλεξης ετηρει τω θριαμβω τα δε λοιπη αληθες τις υπερ επτακαιδεκα έτη δησας έπεμψεν εις τα κατ’ Λίγυπτον έργα, πλεισες δ' εις τας επαρχιας διεδωρήσατο Τιτος, φθαρησομενες εν τοις θεατρους σιδηρω και θηριοις" οι δ' εντος επτακαιδεκα ετων επαθησαν.-Των μεν εν αιχμαλωτων παντων, όσα καθ' όλον εληφθη τον πολεμον, αριθμος εννεα μυριάδες και επτακισχιλιοι συνηχθη. Juvenes autem lectos, qui proceritate et forma cæteris præstarent, triumpho servabat. Ex reliqua autem multitudine, annis XVII. majores vinctos ad metalla exercenda, in Ægyptum misit; plurimos etiam per provincias distribuit Titus, in theatris ferro et bestiis consumendos. Quicunque vero infra XVII. annum ætatis erant, sub corona venditi sunt.--Et captivorum quidem omnium, qui totius belli tempore capti sunt, numerus erat ad nonaginta septem millia.-Lib. 6. cap. 9, sect. 2 et 3, p. 1291. [Translated in the text.] Pro incas 'monxovta scripsisse Josephum censet Villalpandus.— Tom. 3, p. 123. (Villalpandus is of opinion that Josephus wrote insanxoyta –ninety, instead of bea—nine.] || Jhid. sect. 2.
Lib. 7, cap. 2, sect 1. ** Ibid. cap. 3, sect. 1.
tt Ibid. cap. 5, sect. 1. 11 Ibid, sect. 3.