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§ 13. The Birth of Christ in its Relations to the Jewish Theocracy.

AS the entrance of Christ into the course of humanity was brought about by the co-working of supernatural with natural elements, so both these agencies conspired in preparing the way for that great event, the centre of all things, and the aim of all preceding history. So we interpret the relations of the Jews and heathens to the appearance of Christ. The natural developement of the heathen was destined, under the Divine guidance, to prepare them for receiving the new light which emanated from Jesus; and the history of the Jewish people was all preparatory to the appearance and ministry of Christ, who was to come forth out of their midst. This preparation was accomplished by means 19of a chain of separate, but organically connected revelations, all tending toward the full revelation in Him, whose whole life was itself to be the highest manifestation of God to man.

There was peculiar fitness in Christ’s being born among the Jewish people. His life revealed the kingdom of God, which was to be set up over all men, and it properly commenced in a nation whose political life, always developed in a theocratic form, was a continual type of that kingdom. He was the culminating point of this developement; in Him the kingdom of God, no longer limited to this single people, was to show its true design, and, unfettered by physical or national restraints, to assert its authority over the whole human race. The particular typifies the universal; the earthly, the celestial; so David, the monarch who had raised the political theocracy of the Jews to the pinnacle of glory, typified that greater monarch in whom the kingdom of God was to display its glory. Not without reason, therefore, was it that Christ, the summit of the theocracy, sprang from the fallen line of royal David.3838   However the discrepancies in the two genealogies of Christ may be explained, his descent from the race of David was admitted from the beginning, and the evangelists took it for granted as indisputable. How Weisse should deny this, as he does (p. 169), is unaccountable. His arguments can convince no one endowed with the slightest powers of observation, and need no answer. The only one which is at all plausible is that founded on Mark, xii., 35; and that depends upon the question whether Mark uses these words in their original application; a question which we shall hereafter have occasion to examine. Certainly, if they admit of more than one interpretation, we shall adopt any other sooner than that which comes into conflict with Paul, who assumed Christ’s descent from David as certain. Could the apostles have embraced a notion which the Saviour himself had denounced as an invention of the scribes? There was nothing in Paul’s turn of feeling or thought to incline him towards it, had it not been established on other grounds; on the contrary, the doctrine that Christ was not the Son of David, but the Son of God and the Lord of David, would have afforded him an excellent point of attack against Judaism. Although Luke’s genealogy is not directly stated as following the line of Mary, yet it may have done so, and have only been improperly placed where it is. Justin Martyr (Dial. c. Tryph., f. 327) was acquainted with such a genealogy referring to Mary. Luke, i., 32-35, seems to show that Mary was of David’s race. Her relationship to Elizabeth, the mother of John Baptist, does not prove the contrary; for members of the tribe of Levi were not restrained from intermarriage with other tribes; and Elizabeth, although of that tribe on the father’s side, and herself the wife of a priest, might very well have sprung from the tribe of Judah on the mother’s side.


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