|« Prev||Chapter X. Of the names of God given unto Christ.||Next »|
Of the names of God given unto Christ.
In the next place, as a third head, our catechists consider the scriptural attributions of the names of God unto our Saviour, Jesus Christ; whence this is our argument:—
“He who is Jehovah, God, the only true God, he is God properly by nature; but Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the true God, etc.: therefore he is God properly by nature.”
The proposition is clear in itself. Of the innumerable testimonies which are or may be produced to confirm the assumption, our catechists fix upon a very few, — namely, those which are answered by 249Socinus against Weik the Jesuit, whence most of their exceptions to these witnesses are transcribed. To the consideration of these they thus proceed:—
Ques. What are those places of Scripture which seem to attribute something to Christ in a certain and definite time?
Ans. They are of two sorts, whereof some respect the names, others the works, which they suppose in the Scriptures to be attributed to Christ.
Q. Which are they that respect the names of Christ?
A. Those where they suppose in the Scripture that Christ is
called “Jehovah,” etc., Jer. xxiii.
6; Zech. ii. 8; 1 John v.
20; Jude 4; Tit. ii.
13; Rev. i. 8, iv. 8;
Acts xx. 28; 1
John iii. 16.321321 “Quænam ea loca Scripturæ
quæ videntur Christo quædam tempore certo et definito attribnere? — Ea sunt
duplicia; quorum alia nomina, alia facta respiciunt, quæ Christo a
Scriptura attribui opinantur.
“Quænam sunt quæ Christi nomina respiciunt? — Ea, ubi arbitrantur Jesum a Scriptura vocari Jehovam; Dominum exercituum; Deum verum; solum verum; Deum magnum; Dominum Deum omnipotentem, qui fuit, qui est, et qui venturus est; Deum qui acquisivit proprio sanguine ecclesiam; Deum qui animam posuit pro nobis. — Jer. xxiii. 6; Zech. ii. 8, i.John v. 20; Jude 4; Tit. ii. 13; Rev. i. 8, iv. 8; Acts xx. 28, i.John iii. 16.”
The first testimony is Jer. xxiii. 6, in these words, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be Jehovah our righteousness.” To which add the next, Zech. ii. 8.
Before I come to consider their exceptions to these texts in particular, some things in general may be premised, for the better understanding of what we are about, and what from these places we intend to prove and confirm:—
1. The end of citing these two places is, to prove that Jesus Christ is in the Old Testament called Jehovah; which is by them denied, the granting of it being destructive to their whole cause.
2. It is granted that Jehovah is the proper and peculiar name of the one only true God of Israel; — a name as far significant of his nature and being as possibly we are enabled to understand; yea, so far expressive of God, that as the thing signified by it is incomprehensible, so many have thought the very word itself to be ineffable, or at least not lawful to be uttered. This name God peculiarly appropriates to himself in an eminent manner, Exod. vi. 2, 3; so that this is taken for granted on all hands, that he whose name is Jehovah is the only true God, the God of Israel. Whenever that name is used properly, without a trope or figure, it is used of him only. What the adversaries of Christ except against this shall be vindicated in its proper place.
3. Our catechists have very faintly brought forth the testimonies that are usually insisted on in this cause, naming but two of them; wherefore I shall take liberty to add a few more to them out of the many that are ready at hand: Isa. xl. 3, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight 250in the desert a highway for our God.” That it is Christ who is here called Jehovah is clear from that farther expression in Mal. iii. 1, and from the execution of the thing itself, Matt. iii. 3, Mark i. 2, 3, John i. 23. Isa. xlv. 22–25, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in Jehovah have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” The apostle expressly affirms all this to be spoken of Christ, Rom. xiv. 10–12, etc. Hos. xiii. 14 is also applied to Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55. He that would at once consider all the texts of the Old Testament, chiefly ascribing this name to Christ, let him read Zanchius “De Tribus Elohim,” who hath made a large collection of them.
Let us now see what our catechists except against the first testimony:—
Q. What dost thou answer to the first testimony?
A. First, that hence it cannot be necessarily evinced that the name of Jehovah is attributed to Christ. For these words, “And this is his name whereby they shall call him, The Lord our righteousness,” may be referred to Israel, of whom he spake a little before, “In his days shall Judah be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely,” etc., as from a like place may be seen in the same prophet, chap. xxxiii. 15, 16, where he saith, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.” For in the Hebrew it is expressly read, “They shall call her;” which last words are referred of necessity to Jerusalem, and in this place answereth to Israel, which is put in the first place. It seems, therefore, likely that also, in the first place, these words, “They shall call him,” are referred to Israel. But although we should grant that the name of Jehovah may be referred unto Christ, yet from the other testimonies it appears that it cannot be asserted that Christ is called Jehovah simply, neither doth it thence follow that Christ is really Jehovah. Whether, therefore, these last words in this testimony of Jeremiah be understood of Christ or of Israel, their sense is, “Thou Jehovah, our one God, wilt justify us;” for at that time when Christ was to appear God would do that in Israel.322322 “Quid vero tu ad ea ordine respondes, ac ante omnia ad primum? — Primum, quod ex eo confici non possit necessario nomen Jehovæ Christo attribui. Ea enim verba, Et hoc eat nomen ejus quo vocabunt eum, Jehovah justita nostra, referri possunt ad Israelem, de quo paulo superius eodem versu loquitur, In diebus ejus ærvabitur Juda et Israel habitabit secure, et hoc est nomen ejus, etc., ut e loco simili conspici potest apud eundem prophetam, cap. xxxiii. 15, 16, ubi ait, In diebus illis, et in illo tempore, faciam ut existat Davidi Surculus justitiæ, et faciet judicium et justitiam in terra. In diebus illis servabitur Juda, et Jerusalem habitabit secure: et hoc (supple nomen) quo vocabunt eam, Jehovam justitæ nostra. Etenim in Hebræo expresse legitur, Vocabunt eam, quam vocem posteriorem ad Hierusalem referri prorsus est necesse, et hoc quidem loco Israeli, qui in priori loco positus eat, respondet. Videtur igitur prorsus verisimile, quod in priori etiam loco, hæc verba, Vocabunt eam, ad Israelem referantur. At licet concedamus nomen Jehovæ ad Christum posse referri, ex altero tamen testimonio apparet asseri non posse Jehovam simpliciter Christum vocari, neque ex eo sequi, Christum reipsa esse Jehovam. Sive igitur de Christo, sive de Israele postrema verba in testimonio Hieremiæ accipiantur, sententia ipsorum est, Tum Jehovam unum Deum nostrum nos justificaturum, etenim illo tempore cum Christus appariturus esset Deus id in Israele facturus erat.”
251The sum of this answer is:— 1. It may be these words are not spoken of Christ, but of Israel; 2. The same words are used of that which is not God; 3. If they be referred to Christ, they prove him not to be God; 4. Their sense is, that God will justify us in the days of Christ. Of each briefly:—
1. The subject spoken of all along is Christ:— (1.) He is the subject-matter of whatever here is affirmed: “I will raise up a righteous Branch to David; he shall be a king, and he shall reign, and his name shall be called The Lord our righteousness.” (2.) Why are these words to be referred to Israel only, and not also to Judah (if to any but Christ), they being both named together, and upon the same account (yea, and Judah hath the pre-eminence, being named in the first place)? And if they belong to both, the words should be, “This is their name whereby they shall be called.” (3.) Israel was never called “our righteousness,” but Christ is called so upon the matter in the New Testament sundry times, and is so, 1 Cor. i. 30; so that, without departing from the propriety of the words, intendment, and scope of the place, with the truth of the thing itself, these words cannot be so perverted. The violence used to them is notoriously manifest.
2. The expression is not the same in both places, neither is Jerusalem there called “The Lord our righteousness,” but He who calls her is “The Lord our righteousness;” and so are the words rendered by Arias Montanus and others. And if what Jerusalem shall be called be intimated, and not what His name is that calls her, it is merely by a metonymy, upon the account of the presence of Christ in her; as the church is called “Christ” improperly, 1 Cor. xii. 12: Christ properly is Jesus only. But the words are not to be rendered, “This is the name whereby she shall be called,” but, “This is the name whereby he shall call her, The Lord our righteousness;” that is, he who is the Lord our righteousness shall call her to peace and safety, which are there treated on. Christ is our righteousness; Jerusalem is not.
3. It is evident that Christ is absolutely called Jehovah in this as well as in the other places before mentioned, and many more; and it hence evidently follows that he is Jehovah, as he who properly is called so, and understood by that name. Where God simply says his name is Jehovah, we believe him; and where he says the name of the Branch of the house of David is Jehovah, we believe him also. And we say hence that Christ is Jehovah, or the words have not a tolerable sense. Of this again afterward.
2524. The interpretation given of the words is most perverse and opposite to the meaning of them. The prophet says not that “Jehovah the one God shall be our righteousness,” but, “The Branch of David shall be the Lord our righteousness.” The subject is the Branch of David, not Jehovah. “The Branch of David shall be called The Lord our righteousness;” that is, say they, “The Lord shall justify us when the Branch of David shall be brought forth.” Who could have discovered this sense but our catechists and their masters, whose words these are! It remaineth, then, that the Branch of David, who ruleth in righteousness, is Jehovah our righteousness; — our righteousness, as being made so to us; Jehovah, as being so in himself.
Grotius expounds this place, as that of Mic. v. 2, of Zerubbabel, helping on his friends with a new diversion which they knew not of; Socinus, as he professes, being not acquainted with the Jewish doctors, — though some believe him not.323323 Socin. de Servat. p. 3, cap. iv.; Franz. de Sacrif. p. 786. And yet the learned annotator cannot hold out as he begins, but is forced to put out the name Zerubbabel, and to put in that of the people, when he comes to the name insisted on; so leaving no certain design in the whole words from the beginning to the ending.
Two things doth he here oppose himself in to the received interpretation of Christians:— 1. That it is Zerubbabel who is here intended. 2. That it is the people who are called “The Lord our righteousness.”
For the first, thus he on verse 15, “Germen justum, — a righteous Branch:” — “Zorobabelem, qui צֶמַח, ut hic appellatur, ita et Zechariæ vi. 12, nimirum quod velut surculus renatus esset ex arbore Davidis, quasi præcisa Justitiæ nomine commendatur Zorobabel etiam apud Zechariam ix. 9;” — “Zerubbabel, who is here called the Branch, as also Zech. vi. 12, because as a branch he arose from the tree of David, which was as cut off. Also, Zerubbabel is commended for justice (or righteousness), Zech. ix. 9.”
That this is a prophecy of Christ the circumstances of the place evince. The rabbins were also of the same mind, as plentiful collections from them are made to demonstrate it, by Joseph de Voysin, Pug. Fid. par. 3, dist. 1, cap. iv. And the matter spoken of can be accommodated to no other, as hath been declared. Grotius’ proofs that Zerubbabel is intended are worse than the opinion itself. That he is called the Branch, Zech. vi. 12, is most false. He who is called the Branch there is a king and a priest, “He shall rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest;” which Zerubbabel was not, nor had any thing to do with the priestly office, which in his days was administered by Joshua. More evidently false is it that he is spoken of Zech. ix. 9; which place is precisely interpreted of Christ, and the accomplishment, in the very letter of the thing foretold, recorded, 253Matt. xxi. 5. The words are: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” That a man professing Christian religion should affirm any one but Jesus Christ to be here intended is somewhat strange.
Upon the accommodation of the next words to Zerubbabel, “A King shall reign and prosper,” etc., I shall not insist. They contain not the matter of our present contest, though they are pitifully wrested by the annotator, and do no ways serve his design.
For the particular words about which our contest is, this is his comment: “ ‘And this is the name whereby they shall call him, ‘nempe populum;” — namely, the people. “They shall call the people.” How this change comes, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and this is the name whereby he shall be called,” — that is, the people shall be called, — he shows not. That there is no colour of reason for it hath been showed; what hath been said need not to be repeated. He proceeds, “Dominus justitia nostra,” that is, “Deus nobis bene fecit,” — “God hath done well for us, or dealt kindly with us.” But it is not about the intimation of goodness that is in the words, but of the signification of the name given to Jesus Christ, that here we plead. In what sense Christ is “The Lord our righteousness” appears, Isa. xlv. 22–25, 1 Cor. i. 30.
The second testimony is Zech. ii. 8, in these words, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them,” etc., verses 9–12.
Briefly to declare what this witness speaks to, before we permit him to the examination of our adversaries: The person speaking is the Lord of hosts: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts.” And he is the person spoken of. “After the glory,” saith he (or, “After this glorious deliverance of you, my people, from the captivity wherein ye were among the nations”), “hath he sent me;” — “Even me, the Lord of hosts, hath he sent.” “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, He hath, sent me.” And it was to the nations, as in the words following. And who sent him? “Ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me;” — “The people of Israel shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me, the Lord of hosts, to the nations.” But how shall they know that he is so sent? He tells them, verse 11, it shall be known by the conversion of the nations: “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day.” And what then? “They shall be my people;” — “mine who am sent; my people; the people of the Lord of hosts that was sent;” that is, of Jesus Christ. “And I,” saith he whose people they are, “will dwell in the midst of them” (as God promised to do), “and 254thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.” I omit the circumstances of the place. Let us now see what is excepted by our catechists:—
Q. What dost thou answer to this second testimony?
A. The place of Zechariah they thus cite: “This saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me to the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine eye;” which they wrest unto Christ, because here, as they suppose, it is said that the Lord of hosts is sent from the Lord of hosts. But these things are not so; for it is evident that these words, “After the glory hath he sent me,” are spoken of another, namely, of the angel who spake with Zechariah and the other angel. The same is evident in the same chapter a little before, beginning at the fourth verse, where the angel is brought in speaking; which also is to be seen from hence, that those words which they cite, “This saith the Lord of hosts,” in the Hebrew may be read, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts;” and those, “Toucheth the apple of mine eye,” may be read, “The apple of his eye;” which of necessity are referred to his messenger, and not to the Lord of hosts.”324324 “Ad secundum vero quid respondes? — Locum Zechariæ ad hunc modum citant: Hoc dicit Dominus exercitum; Post gloriam misit me ad gentes, quæ vos spoliarunt: qui enim vos tangit, tangit pupillam oculi mei, etc.; quæ ad Christum torquent, quod hic, ut arbitrantur, dicatur Dominum exercituum missum esse a Domino exercituum. Verum ea hic non habentur; quod hinc perspicuum est, quod ea verba, Post gloriam misit me, etc., sunt ab alio prolata, nempe ab angelo qui cum Zecharia et alio angelo colloquebatur, ut idem eodem capite paulo ante planum est, a versu quarto initio facto, ubi is angelus loqueus introducitur. Quod idem ea ex re videre est, quod ea quæ citant verba, Hoc dicit Dominus exercituum, in Hebræo legantur, Sic dicit Dominus exercituum; item illa, Tangit pupillam oculi mei, legantur Pupillam oculi ejus; quæ non ad Dominum exercituum, sed ad legatum referri necesse est.”
These gentlemen being excellent at cavils and exceptions, and thereunto undertaking to answer any thing in the world, do not lightly acquit themselves more weakly and jejunely in any place than in this; for, —
1. We contend not with them about the translation of the words, their exceptions being to the Vulgar Latin only; we take them as they have rendered them. To omit that, therefore, —
2. That these words are spoken by him who is called the angel we grant; but the only question is, Who is this angel that speaks them? It is evident, from the former chapter and this, that it is the man who was upon the red horse, chap. i. 8, who is called “Angelus Jehovæ,” verse 11, and makes intercession for the church, verse 12; which is the proper office of Jesus Christ. And that he is no created angel, but Jehovah himself, the second person of the Trinity, we prove, because he calls himself “The Lord of hosts;” says he will destroy his enemies with the shaking of his hand; that he will convert a people, and make them his people; and that he will dwell in his church. And yet unto all this he adds three times that he is sent of the Lord of hosts. We confess, then, all these things to be spoken of him who was sent; but upon all these testimonies conclude that he who was sent was the Lord of hosts.
Grotius interprets all this place of an angel, and names him to 255boot! Michael it is; but who that Michael is, and whether he be no more than an angel (that is, a messenger), he inquires not. That the ancient Jewish doctors interpreted this place of the Messiah is evident.325325 Bereschith Rab. ad Gen. xxv. 28. Of that no notice here is taken; it is not to the purpose in hand. To the reasons already offered to prove that it is no mere creature that is here intended, but the Lord of hosts who is sent by the Lord of hosts, I shall only add my desire that the friends and apologizers for this learned annotator would reconcile this exposition of this place to itself, in those things which at first view present themselves to every ordinary observer. Take one instance: “Ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me,” — that is, Michael; “and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” “Templum meum ibi habebo,” — “I will have my temple there.” If he who speaks be Michael, a created angel, how comes the temple of Jehovah to be his? And such let the attempts of all appear to be who manage any design against the eternal glory of the Son of God.
The third testimony is 1 John v. 20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Q. What dost thou answer to this?
A. These words, “This is the true God,” I deny to be referred to the Son of God. Not that I deny Christ to be true God, but that place will not admit those words to be understood of Christ; for here he treats not only of the true God, but of the only true God, as the article added in the Greek doth declare. But Christ, although he be true God, he is not yet of himself that one God, who by himself, and upon the most excellent account, is God, seeing that is only God the Father. Nor doth it avail the adversaries, who would have those words referred to Christ, because the mention of Christ doth immediately go before those words, “This is the true God:” for pronoun relatives, as “this” and the like, are not always referred to the next antecedent, but often to that which is chiefly spoken of, as Acts vii. 19, 20, x. 6, John ii. 7; from which places it appears that the pronoun relative “this” is referred not to the next, but to the most remote person.326326 “Quid respondes ad tertium? — In hoc testimonio, Scimus Filium Dei venisse, etc. hæc verba, Hic est verus Deus, nego referri ad Dei Filium. Non quod negem Christum esse verum Deum, sed quod is locus ea de Christo accipi non admittat. Etenim hic agitur non solum de vero Deo, sed de illo uno vero Deo, ut articulus in Græco additus indicat. Christus vero, etsi verus Deus sit, non est tamen ille ex se unus Deus, qui per se et perfectissima ratione Deus est, cum is Deus tantum sit Pater. Nec vero quicquam juvat adversarios, qui propterea hæc ad Christum referri volunt, quod verba, Hic est verus Deus, et Christi mentio proxime antecesserit; etenim pronomina relativa, ut hic et similia, non semper ad proxime antecedentia, verum sæpenumero ad id de quo potissimum sermo est referuntur, ut patet ex his locis, Acts vii. 19, 20, et x. 6, John ii. 7; e quibus locis apparet pronomen relativum hic non ad proximo antecedentes personas, sed ad remotiores referri.”
1. It is well it is acknowledged that the only true God is here intended, and that this is proved by the prefixed article. This may be of use afterward.
2562. In what sense these men grant Christ to be a true God we know; — a made God, a God by office, not nature; a man deified with authority: so making two true Gods, contrary to innumerable express texts of Scripture and the nature of the Deity.
3. That these words are not meant of Christ they prove, because “he is not the only true God, but only the Father.” But, friends, these words are produced to prove the contrary, as expressly affirming it; and is it a sufficient reason to deny it by saying, “He is not the only true God, therefore these words are not spoken of him,” when the argument is, “These words are spoken of him, therefore he is the only true God?”
4. Their instances prove that in some cases a relative may relate to the more remote antecedent, but that in this place that mentioned ought to do so they pretend not once to urge; yea, the reason they give is against themselves, namely, that “it refers to him chiefly spoken of,” which here is eminently and indisputably Jesus Christ. In the places by them produced it is impossible, from the subject-matter in hand, that the relative should be referred to any but the remoter antecedent; but that therefore here we must offer violence to the words, and strain them into an incoherence, and transgress all rules of construction (nothing enforcing to such a procedure), is not proved.
5. In the beginning of the 20th verse it is said, “The Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding;” and we are said to be “in him,” even “in Jesus Christ;” on which it immediately follows, Οὗτος, “This,” this Jesus Christ, “is the true God, and eternal life.”
6. That Jesus Christ is by John peculiarly called “life,” and “eternal life,” is evident both from his Gospel and this Epistle; and without doubt, by the same term, in his usual manner, he expresses here the same person. Chap. i. 2, v. 12, 20, “The Son of God is life, eternal life: he that hath the Son hath life: we are in him, in his Son Jesus Christ: this is the true God, and eternal life.” So he began, and so he ends his Epistle.
And this is all our adversaries have to say against this most express testimony of the divine nature of Jesus Christ; in their entrance whereunto they cry, “Hail, master!” as one before them did (“He is a true God”), but in the close betray him, as far as lies in them, by denying his divine nature.
Even at the light of this most evident testimony, the eyes of Grotius dazzled that he could not see the truth. His note is, Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός, Is nempe quem Iesus monstravit colendumque docuit, non alius, Οὗτος sæpe refertur ad aliquid præcedens non ἀμέσως, Acts viii. 19, x. 6.” The very same plea with the former; only Acts viii. 19 is mistaken for Acts vii. 19, the place urged by our catechists, 257and before them by Socinus against Weik, to whom not only they, but Grotius is beholden. That citation of Acts x. 6 helps not the business at all. Οὗτος is twice used, once immediately at the beginning of the verse, secondly being guided by the first; the latter is referred to the same person, nor can possibly signify any other. Here is no such thing, not any one circumstance to cause us to put any force upon the constructure of the words, the discourse being still of the same person, without any alteration; which in the other places is not.
Of the next testimony, which is from these words of Jude, “Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,” verse 4 (not to increase words), this is the sum: There being but one article prefixed to all the words, it seems to carry the sense that it is wholly spoken of Christ. The catechists reckon some places where one article serves to sundry things, as Matt. xxi. 12; but it is evident that they are utterly things of another kind and another manner of speaking than what is here: but the judgment hereof is left to the reader, it being not indeed clear to me whether Christ be called Δεσπότης anywhere in the New Testament, though he be [called] Lord, and God, and the true God, full often.
The second [chapter] of Titus, verse 13, must be more fully insisted on: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Q. What dost thou answer to this?
A. In this place they strive to evince by two reasons that the epithet of the “great God” is referred to Christ. The first is the rule forementioned, of one article prefixed to all the words; the other, that we do not expect that coming of the Father, but of the Son. To the first you have an answer already in the answer to the fourth testimony; to the other I answer, Paul doth not say, “Expecting the coming of the great God,” but, “Expecting the appearance of the glory of the great God.” But now the words of Christ show that the glory of God the Father may be said to be illustrated when Christ comes to judgment, when he saith that he shall come in glory, that is, with the glory of God his Father, Matt. xvi. 27; Mark viii. 38. Besides, what inconvenience is it if it shall be said that God the Father shall come (as they cite the words out of the Vulgar), when the Son comes to judge the world? Shall not Christ sustain the person of the Father, as of him from whom he hath received this office of judging?327327 “Ad quintum quid respondes? — Quintum testimonium est, Expectantes beatem spem, etc. Quo in logo epitheton magni Dei ad Christum referri duabus rationibus evincere conantur. Prior est, superius de articulo uno præfixo regula; posterior, quod adventum non expectemus Patris, sod Filii. Verum ad primum argumentum responsum habes in responsione ad quartum testimonium. Ad alterum respondeo, Paulum non dicere, Expectantes adventum magni Dei, verum dicere, Expectantes apparitionem gloriæ magni Dei. Posse vero dici gloriam Dei Patris illustratam hi, cum Christus ad judicium venerit, verba Christi ostendunt, cum ait, quod venturus sit in gloria, id est, cum gloria Dei Patris sui, Matt. xvi. 27; Mark viii. 38. Præterea, quod est inconveniens si dicatur, Deus Pater venturus (prout illi e Vulgata citant) cum Filius ad mundum judicandum venerit? An Christus Dei Patris personam in judicio mundi, tanquam ejus a quo munus judicandi accepit, non sustinebit?”
About the reading of the words we shall not contend with them. 258It is the original we are to be tried by, and there is in that no ambiguity. That Ἐπιφάνεια τῆς δόξης, “The appearance of the glory,” is a Hebraism for “The glorious appearance” cannot be questioned. A hundred expressions of that nature in the New Testament may be produced to give countenance to this. That the blessed hope looked for is the thing hoped for, the resurrection to life and immortality, is not denied. Neither is it disputed whether the subject spoken of be Jesus Christ and his coming to judgment. The subject is one; his epithets here two:— 1. That belonging to his essence in himself, he is “the great God;” 2. That of office unto us, he is “our Saviour.” That it is Christ which is spoken of appears, — 1. From the single article that is assigned to all the words, Τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ which no less signifies one person than that other expression, Ὁ Θεὸς καὶ Πατὴρ Ἰησοῦ Χρυστοῦ, — “The God and Father of Jesus Christ.” Should I say that one person is here intended, and not two (God and the Father of Jesus Christ being the same), our catechists may say, “No; for it is found in another place that there is but one article prefixed where sundry persons are after spoken of.” But is it not evident in those places, from the subject-matter, that they are sundry persons, as also from the several conditions of them mentioned, as in that of Matt. xxi. 12, “He cast out the sellers and buyers,” The proper force, then, of the expression enforces this attribution to Jesus Christ. 2. Mention is made τῆς ἐπιφανείας, — of the glorious appearance of him of whom the apostle speaks. That Christ is the person spoken of, and his employment of coming to judgment, primarily and directly, is confessed. This word is never used of God the Father, but frequently of Christ, and that, in particular, in respect of the things here spoken of; yea, it is properly expressive of his second coming, in opposition to his first coming, under contempt, scorn, and reproach: 1 Tim. vi. 14, “Keep this commandment, μέχρι τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ Χριστοῦ.” 2 Tim. iv. 8, “Which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ.” Neither, as was said, is it ever used of the Father, but is the word continually used to express the second coming of Jesus Christ. Sometimes παρουσία hath the same signification; and is therefore never ascribed to the Father. 3. It is not what may be said to be done, whether the glory of the Father may be said to be illustrated by the coming of Christ, but what is said. “The glorious appearance of the great God” is not the manifestation of his glory, but his glory is manifested in his appearance. 4. It is true, it is said that Christ shall “come in the glory of his Father,” Matt. xvi. 27, Mark viii. 38; but it is nowhere said that the glory of the Father shall come or appear. 5. Their whole interpretation of the words will scarce admit of any good sense; nor can it be properly said that two persons come 259when only one comes, though that one have glory and authority from the other. 6. Christ shall also judge in his own name, and by the laws which, as Lord, he hath given. 7. There is but the same way of coming and appearance of the great God and our Saviour: which if our Saviour come really and indeed, and the great God only because he sends him, the one comes and the other comes not; which is not, doubtless, they both come.
Grotius agrees with our catechists, but says not one word more for the proof of his interpretation, nor in way of exception to ours, than they say, as they say no more than Socinus against Bellarmine, nor he much more than Erasmus before him, from whom Grotius also borrowed his comment of Ambrose, which he urges in the exposition of this place; which, were it not for my peculiar respect to Erasmus, I would say were not honestly done, himself having proved that comment under the name of Ambrose to be a paltry, corrupted, depraved, foisted piece: but Grotius hath not a word but what hath been spoken to.
The next testimony mentioned is Rev. i. 8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty;” to which is added that of chap. iv. 8, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
Q. What sayest thou to this?
A. This place they say refers to Christ, because they suppose none is said to come but only Christ, for he is to come to judge the quick and dead. But it is to be noted, that that word which they have rendered “to come,” may equally be rendered “is to be,” as John xvi. 13, where the Lord says of the Spirit, which he promised to the apostles, that he should “show them things to come;” and Acts xviii. 21, we read that the feast day was “to be,” in which place the Greek word is ἐρχόμενος. Lastly, Who is there that knows not that seeing it is said before, “which was, and is,” this last which is added may be rendered “to be,” that the words in every part may be taken of existence, and not in the two former of existence, in the latter of coming? Neither is there any one who doth not observe that the eternity of God is here described, which comprehendeth time past, present, and to come. But that which discovers this gross error is that which we read in Rev. i. 4, 5, “Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness;” — from which testimony it appears that Jesus Christ is quite another from him which is, and was, and is to be, or, as they think, is to come.328328 “Quid ad sextum respondes? — Eum vero locum propterea ad Christum referunt, quod arbitrentur neminem venturum, nisi Christum; is enim venturus est ad judicandum vivos et mortuos. Verum tenendum est, eam vocem quam illi reddidere venturus est, reddi æque posse futurus est, ut Johan. xvi. 13, ubi Dominus ait de Spiritu, quem apostolis promittebat, quod illis esset futura annunciaturus; et Acts xviii. 21, ubi legimus, diem festum futurum: in quibus locis duobus, vox Græca est ἐρχόμενος. Deinde, quis eat qui nesciat, cum prius dictum sit, qui erat, et qui est, et posterius hoc quod additum est per futurum esse reddi debere, et ubique de existentia ea oratio accipiatur, et non in prioribus duobus membris de existentia, in postremo de adventu? Nec est quisquam qui non animadvertat hic describi æternitatem Dei, quæ tempus præteritum, præsens, et futurum comprehendit. Sed quod crassum errorem hunc detegit, est quod Rev. i. 4, 5, legimus, Gratia vobis, et pax, ab eo qui est, et qui erat, et qui futurus est; et a septem spiritibus qui sunt ante faciem throni ejus; et a Jesu Christo, qui est testis fidelis. E quo testimonio apparet, Jesum Christum ab eo qui est, qui erat, et qui futurus est, vel, ut illi credunt, venturus, esse longe alium.”
2601. There is not one place which they have mentioned wherein the word here used, ἐρχὸμενος, may not properly be translated “to come;” which they seem to acknowledge at first to be peculiar to Christ. But, 2. These gentlemen make themselves and their disciples merry by persuading them that we have no other argument to prove these words to be spoken of Christ but only because he is said to be ὁ ἐρχόμενος: which yet, in conjunction with other things, is not without its weight, being as it were a name of the Messiah, Matt. xi. 3, from Gen. xlix. 10,329329 Ἕως ἐὰν ἔλθῃ ᾦ ἀπόκειται, Gen. xlix. 10. Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, Matt. xi. 8. though it may be otherwise applied. 3. They are no less triumphant, doubtless, in their following answer, that these words describe the eternity of God, and therefore belong not to Christ; when the argument is, that Christ is God, because, amongst other things, these words ascribe eternity to him. Is this an answer to us, who not only believe him, but prove him eternal? 4. And they are upon the same pin still in their last expression, that these words are ascribed to the Father, verse 4, when they know that the argument which they have undertaken to answer is, that the same names are ascribed to the Son as to the Father, and therefore he is God equal with him. Their answer is, “This name is not ascribed to Christ, because it is ascribed to the Father.” Men must beg when they can make no earnings at work. 5. We confess Christ to be “alius,” “another,” another person from the Father; not another God, as our catechists pretend.
Having stopped the mouths of our catechists, we may briefly consider the text itself. 1. That by this expression, “Who is, and who was, and who is to come,” the apostle expresses that name of God, Ehejeh [אֶהְיֶה], Exod. iii. 14, which, as the rabbins say, is of all seasons, and expressive of all times, is evident. To which add that other name of God, “Almighty,” and it cannot at all be questioned but that he who is intended in these words is “the only true God.” 2. That the words are here used of Jesus Christ is so undeniable from the context that his adversaries thought good not once to mention it. Verse 7, his coming is described to be in glory: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him;” whereupon himself immediately adds the words of this testimony, “I am Alpha and Omega” For, (1.) They are words spoken to John by him who gave him the Revelation, which was Jesus Christ, verse 1. (2.) They are the words of him that speaks on to John, which was Jesus Christ, verse 18. (3.) Jesus Christ twice in this chapter afterward gives 261himself the same title, verse 11, “I am Alpha and Omega;” and verse 17, “I am the first and the last.” But who is he? “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I live for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death,” verse 18. He gave the Revelation, he is described, he speaks all always, he gives himself the same title twice again in this chapter.
But our catechists think they have taken a course to prevent all this, and therefore have avoided the consideration of the words as they are placed, chap. i. 8, considering the same words in chap. iv. 8, where they want some of the circumstances which in this place give light to their application. They are not there spoken by any one that ascribes them to himself, but by others are ascribed “to him that sitteth upon the throne;” who cry (as the seraphims, Isa. vi. 3), “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” But yet there wants not evidence to evince that these words belong immediately in this place also to Jesus Christ; for, — 1. They are the name, as we have seen, whereby not long before he revealed himself. 2. They are spoken of “him who sitteth upon the throne” in the midst of the Christian churches here represented. And if Christ be not intended in these words, there is no mention of his presence in his church, in that solemn representation of its assembly, although he promised to be in the “midst” of his “to the end of the world.” 3. The honour that is here ascribed to him that is spoken of is because he is ἄξιος, “worthy,” as the same is assigned to the Lamb by the same persons in the same words, chap. v. 12. So that in both these places it is Jesus Christ who is described: “He is, he was, he is to come” (or, as another place expresses it, “The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever”), “the Lord God Almighty.”
I shall not need to add any thing to what Grotius hath observed on these places. He holds with our catechists, and ascribes these titles and expressions to God in contradistinction to Jesus Christ, and gives in some observations to explain them: but for the reason of his exposition, wherein he knew that he dissented from the most of Christians, we have οὐδὲ γρύ, so that I have nothing to do but to reject his authority; which, upon the experience I have of his design, I can most freely do.
Proceed we to the next testimony, which is Acts xx. 28, “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” He who purchased the church with his blood is God; but it was Jesus Christ who purchased his church with Ms blood, Eph. v. 25–27, Tit. ii. 14, Heb. ix. 14: therefore he is God.
Q. What dost thou answer to this?
A. I answer, the name of “God” is not necessarily in this place referred to Christ, but it may be referred to God the Father, whose blood the apostles call that which Christ shed, in that kind of speaking, and for that cause, with which God, and 262for which cause the prophet says, “He who toucheth you toucheth the apple of the eye of God himself.” For the great conjunction that is between Father and Son, although in essence they are altogether diverse, is the reason why the blood of Christ is called the blood of God the Father himself, especially if it be considered as shed for us; for Christ is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, whence the blood shed to that purpose may be called the blood of God himself. Nor is it to be passed by in silence, that in the Syriac edition, in the place of God, Christ is read.330330 “Quid ad septimum respondes? — Respondeo, nomen Dei hoc loco non referri ad Christum necessario, sect ad ipsum Deum Patrem referri posse, cujus apostolus eum sangninem, quem Christus fudit, sanguinem vocat, eo genere loquendi, et eam ob causam, quo genere loquendi, et quam ob causam propheta ait, Eum qui tangit populum Dei, tangere pupillam oculi Dei ipsius. Etenim summa quæ est inter Deum Patrem et Christum conjunctio, etsi essentia sint prorsus diversi, in causa est, cur Christi sanguis, sangnis ipsius Dei Patris dicatur, præsertim si quis expendat quatenus is est pro nobis fusus: etenim Christus est Agnus Dei, qui tollit peccata mundi. Unde sanguis in eum finem fusus, ipsius Dei sangnis jure vocari potest. Nec vero prætereundum est silentio, quod in editione Syriaca loco Dei legatur Christi.”
There is scarce any place in returning an answer whereunto the adversaries of the deity of Christ do less agree among themselves than about this. 1. Some say the name of God is not here taken absolutely, but with relation to office, and so Christ is spoken of, and called “God by office:” so Socin. ad Bellar. et Weik. p. 200, etc. Some say that the words are thus to be read, “Feed the church of God, which Christ hath purchased by his own blood:” so Ochinus and Lælius Socinus, whom Zanchius answers, “De Tribus Elohim,” lib. iii. cap. vi. p. 456. Some flee to the Syriac translation, contrary to the constant consenting testimony of all famous copies of the original, all agreeing in the word Θεοῦ, some adding τοῦ Κυρίου.331331 It is necessary to state that this is far from being correct. Eminent critics, such as Bengel, Matthai, and Scholz, it is true, decide for Θεοῦ, but Griesbach, Lachman, and Tischendorf, give τοῦ Κυρίου as the proper reading. The leading manuscripts A, C, D, E, are in favour of the latter; but Tischendorf has now proved that manuscript B, commonly known as the Vatican manuscript, and formerly supposed to agree with them, on the contrary, has Θεοῦ, a prima manu. All the evidence cannot be weighed and discussed in this note, but the authority for Θεοῦ is, on the whole, sufficient to establish it as the true reading. — Ed. So Grotius would have it, affirming that the manuscript he used had τοῦ Κυρίου, not telling them that it added Θεοῦ, which is the same with what we affirm; and therefore he ventures at asserting the text to be corrupted, and, in short writing, θοῦ to be crept in for χοῦ [manuscript contractions for Θεοῦ and Χριστοῦ], contrary to the faith and consent of all ancient copies: which is all he hath to plead. 2. Our catechists know not what to say: “Necessarily this word ‘God’ is not to be referred to Christ; it may be referred to God the Father.” Give an instance of the like phrase of speech, and take the interpretation. Can it be said that one’s blood was shed when it was not shed, but another’s? and there is no mention that that other’s blood was shed. 3. If the Father’s blood was shed, or said truly to be shed, because Christ’s blood was shed, then you may say that God the Father died, 263and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and that God the Father rose from the dead; that he was dead, and is alive; that that blood that was shed was not Christ’s, but somebody’s else that he loved, and was near unto him. 4. There is no analogy between that of the prophet, of the “apple of God’s eye,” and this here spoken of. Uncontrollably a metaphor must there be allowed; — here is no metaphor insisted on; but that which is the blood of Christ is called the blood of God, and Christ not to be that God is their interpretation. There, divers persons are spoken of, God and believers; here, one only, that did that which is expressed. And all the force of this exposition lies in this, “There is a figurative expression in one place, the matter spoken of requiring it, therefore here must be a figure admitted also,” where there is not the same reason. What is this but to “make the Scripture a nose of wax?” The work of “redeeming the church with his blood’ is ever ascribed to Christ as peculiar to him, constantly, without exception, and never to God the Father; neither would our adversaries allow it to be so here, but that they know not how to stand before the testimony wherewith they are pressed. 5. If, because of the conjunction that is between God the Father and Christ, the blood of Christ may be called the blood of God the Father, then the hunger and thirst of Christ, his dying and being buried, his rising again, may be called the hunger and thirst of God the Father, his sweating, dying, and rising. And he is a strange natural and proper Son who hath a quite different nature and essence from his own proper Father, as is here affirmed. 6. Christ is called “The Lamb of God,” as answering and fulfilling all the sacrifices that were made to God of old; and if the blood of Christ may be called the blood of God the Father because he appointed it to be shed for us, then the blood of any sacrifice was also the blood of the man that appointed it to be shed, yea, of God, who ordained it. The words are, Ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἢ περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου ἅιματος. If any words in the world can properly express that it is one and the same person who is intended, that it is his own blood properly that bought the church with it, surely these words do it to the full. Christ, then, is God.
The next place they are pleased to take notice of, as to this head of testimonies about the names of God, is 1 John iii. 16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.” He who laid down his life for us was God; that is, he was so when he laid down his life for us, and not made a God since.
Q. To the eighth what sayest thou?
A. First take this account, that neither in any Greek edition (but only the Complutensis) nor in the Syriac the word “God” is found But suppose that this word were found in all copies, were therefore this word “he” to be referred to “God”? No, doubtless; not only for that reason which we gave a little before, in answer to the 264third testimony, that such words are not always referred to the next person, but, moreover, because John doth often in this epistle refer the Greek word ἐκεῖνος to him who was named long before, as in the 3d, 5th, and 7th verses of this chapter.332332 “Ad octavum veto quid? — Primum igitur sic habeto, neque in Græca editione uila hæc (excepta Complutensi), nec in editione Syriaca, vocem Deus haberi. Verum etiamsi vex haberetur in omnibus exemplaribus, num idcireo ea vex the ad Deum erit referenda? Non certe; non solum ob eam causam quam paulo superius attulimus, in responsione ad testimonium tertium, quod verba ejusmodi non semper ad propinquiores personas referantur, verum etiam quod ἐκεῖνος vocem Græcum Johannes in hac epistola sæpe ad eum refert, qui longe antea nominatus fuerat, ut et 3, 5, et 7, versu ejusdem capitis in Græco apparet.”
1. Our catechists do very faintly adhere to the first exception, about the word Θεοῦ333333 It cannot now be questioned that there is no authority for the insertion of Θεοῦ. Even our authorized version consigns it to Italics, as a supplement, and not in the original. — Ed. in the original, granting that it is in some copies, and knowing that the like phrase is used elsewhere, and that the sense in this place necessarily requires the presence of that word. 2. Supposing it as they do, we deny that this is a very just exception which they insist upon, that as a relative may sometimes, and in some cases, where the sense is evident, be referred to the remote antecedent, therefore it may or ought to be so in any place, contrary to the propriety of grammar, where there are no circumstances enforcing such a construction, but all things requiring the proper sense of it. 3. It is allowed of only where several persons are spoken of immediately before, which here are not, one only being intimated or expressed. 4. They can give no example of the word “God” going before, and ἐκεῖνος following after, where ἐκεῖνος is referred to any thing or person more remote; much less here, where the apostle, having treated of God and the love of God, draws an argument from the love of God to enforce our love of one another. 5. In the places they point unto, ἐκεῖνος in every one of them is referred to the next and immediate antecedent, as will be evident to our reader upon the first view.
Give them their great associate and we have done: “ Ἐκεῖνος hic est Christus, ut supra ver. 5, subintelligendum hic autem est, hoc Christum fecisse Deo sic decernente nostri causa quod expressum est, Rom. v. 8.” That ἐκεῖνος is Christ is confessed; but the word being a relative, and expressive of some person before mentioned, we say it relates unto Θεοῦ, the word going immediately before it. No, says Grotius, but “the sense is, ‘Herein appeared the love of God, that by his appointment Christ died for us.’“That Christ laid down his life for us by the appointment of the Father is most true, but that that is the intendment of this place, or that the grammatical construction of the words will bear any such sense, we deny.
And this is what they have to except to the testimonies which themselves choose to insist on to give in their exceptions to, as to 265the names of Jehovah and God being ascribed unto Jesus Christ; which having vindicated from all their sophistry, I shall shut up the discourse of them with this argument, which they afford us for the confirmation of the sacred truth contended for: He who is Jehovah, God, the only true God, etc., he is God by nature; but thus is Jesus Christ God, and these are the names the Scripture calls and knows him by: therefore he is so, God by nature, blessed for ever.
That many more testimonies to this purpose may be produced, and have been so by those who have pleaded the deity of Christ against its opposers, both of old and of late, is known to all that inquire after such things. I content myself to vindicate what they have put in exceptions unto.
|« Prev||Chapter X. Of the names of God given unto Christ.||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version