« ElőzőTovább »
Joseph their 'kinsman and brother, from perishing by famine ; as he that saves the souls of the spiritual Israel from spiritual famine is their near kinsman, and one that is not ashamed to call them brethren. Joseph was a brother they had hated, sold, and as it were killed; for they had designed to kill him. So Christ is one that we naturally hate, and by, our wicked lives, have sold for the vain things of the world, and by our sins have slain. Joseph was first in a state of humiliation; he was a servant, as Christ appeared in the form of a servant; and then was cast into a dungeon, as Christ descended into the grave. When he rose out of the dungeon, he was in a state of great exaltation, at the king's right hand as his deputy, to reign over all his kingdom, to provide food, to preserve life; and being in this state of exaltation, he dispenses food to his brethren, and so gives them life. So Christ was exalted at God's right hand to be a Prince and Saviour to his brethren, received gifts for men, even for the rebellious, them that had hated and sold him.
VII. After this there was a prophecy of Christ, on some accounts more particular than any before, in Jacob's blessing his son Judah. This was more particular as it showed of whose posterity he was to be. When God called Abraham, it was revealed that he was to be of Abraham's posterity. Before, we have no account of any revelation concerning Christ's pedigree confined to narrower limits than the posterity of Noah: after this it was confined to still narrower limits ; for though Abraham had many sons, yet it was revealed, that Christ was to be of Isaac's posterity. And then it was limited still more; for when Isaac had two sons, it was revealed that Christ was to be of Israel's posterity. And now, though Israel had twelve sons, yet it is revealed that Christ should be of Judah's posterity. Christ is the lion of the tribe of Judah. Respect is chiefly had to his great acts, when it is said here, Gen. xlix. 8.
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion ; who shall rouse him up?" And then this prediction is more particular concerning the time of Christ's coming, as in verse 10. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The prophecy here, of the calling of the Gentiles consequent on Christ's coming, seems to be more plain than any had been before, in the expression, “to him shall the gathering of the people be.” Thus you see how that gospel light which dawned immediately after the fall of man, gradually increases.
VIII. The work of redemption was carried on in this period, in God's wonderfully perserving the children of Israel'in Egypt, when the power of Egypt was engaged utterly to destroy them. They seemed to be wholly in the hands of the Egyptians; they were their servants, and were subject to the power of Pharaoh : and Pharaoh set himself to weaken them with hard bondage. And when he saw that did not do, he set himself to extirpate their race, by commanding that every male child should be drowned. But after all that Pharaoh could do, God wonderfully preserved them; and not only so, but increased them exceedingly; so that, instead of being extirpated, they greatly multiplied.
IX. Here is to be observed, not only the preservation of the nation, but God's wonderfully persevering and upholding his invisible church in that nation, when in danger of being overwhelmed in the idolatry of Egypt. The children of Israel being long among the Egyptians, and servants under them, and so not having advantages to keep God's ordinances among themselves, and maintain any public worship or instruction, whereby the true religion might be upheld ; and there being now no written word, they by degrees, in a great measure, lost the true religion, and borrowed the idolatry of Egypt; and the greater part of the people fell away to the worship of their gods. This we learn by Ezek. xx. 6, 7, 8, and by chap. xxiii. 8.
This now was the third time that God's church was almost swallowed up and carried away with the wickedness of the -world, once before the flood; the other time, before the calling of Abraham; and now, the third time in Egypt. But yet God did not suffer his church to be quite overwhelmed: he still saved it, like the ark in the flood, and as he saved Moses in the midst of the waters, in an ark of bulrushes, where he was in the utmost danger of being swallowed up. The true religion was still kept up with some: and God had still a people among them, even in this miserable, corrupt, and dark time. The parents of Moses were true servants of God, as we may learn, by Heb. xi. 23. “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child ; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.”
I have now shown how the work of redemption was carried on from the calling of Abraham to Moses ; in which we have seen many great things done towards this work, and a great advancement of this building, beyond what had preceded.
From Moses to David.
I PROCEED to the time which reaches from Moses to David.
I. The first thing that offers itself is the redemption of the church of God out of Egypt; the most remarkable of all in the Old Testament, the greatest pledge and forerunner of the future redemption by Christ, and much more insisted on in scripture than any other of those redemptions. And indeed it was the greatest type of Christ's redeinption of any providential event whatsoever. This was by Jesus Christ, for it was wrought by him who appeared to Moses in the bush; the person that sent Moses to redeem that people. But that was Christ, as is evident, because he is called the angel of the Lord, Exod. iii. 2, 3. The bush represented the human nature of Christ, who is called the branch. This bush grew on Mount Sinai or Horeb, a word that signifies a dry place, as the human nature of Christ was a root out of a dry ground. The bush burning with fire, represented the sufferings of Christ, in the fire of God's wrath. It burned, and was not consumed : so Christ, though he suffered extremely, yet perished not; but overcame at last, and rose from his sufferings. Because this great mystery of the incarnation and sufferings of Christ was here represented, therefore Moses says, “ I will turn aside, and behold this great sight.”. A great sight he might well call it, when there was represented, God manifest in the flesh, suffering a dreadful death, and rising from the dead.
This was the glorious Redeemer who redeemed the church out of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh ; as Christ, by his death and sufferings, redeemed his people from Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh. He redeemed them from hard service and cruel drudgery ; so Christ redeems his people from the cruel slavery of sin and Satan. He redeemed them, as it is said, from the iron furnace; so Christ redeems his church from a furnace of fire and everlasting burnings. He redeemed them with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and great and terrible judg. ments on their enemies; so Christ with mighty power triumphs over principalities and powers, and executes terrible judgments on his church's enemies, bruising the serpent's head. He saved them when others were destroyed, by the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb; so God's church is saved from death by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, when the rest of the world is destroyed. God brought forth the people sorely against the will of the Egyptians, when they could not bear to
let them go; so Christ rescues his people out of the hands of the devil, sorely against his will, when his proud heart cannot bear to be overcome.
In that redemption, Christ did not only redeem the people from the Egyptians, but he redeemed them from the devils, the gods of Egypt; for before they had been in a state of servitude to the gods of Egypt, as well as to the men. And Christ, the seed of the woman, did now, in a very remarkable manner, fulfil the curse on the serpent, in bruising his head : Exod. xiii. 12 “ For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment.” Hell was as much, nay more engaged in that affair, than Egypt was. The pride and cruelty of Satan, that old serpent, was more concerned in it than Pharaoh's. He did his utmost against the people, and to his utmost opposed their redemption. But it is said, that when God redeemed his people out of Egypt, he“ broke the heads of the dragons in the waters, and broke the head of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat for the people inhabiting the wilderness," Psalm lxxiv. 12–14. God forced their enemies to let them go, that they might serve him; as Zacharias observes with respect to the church under the gospel, Luke i. 74, 75.
The people of Israel went out with a high hand, and Christ went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire. There was a glorious triumph over earth and hell in that deliverance. When Pharaoh and his hosts, and Satan by them, pursued the people, Christ overthrew them in the Red Sea: the Lord triumphed gloriously : the horse and his rider he cast into the sea, and there they slept their sleep, and never followed the children of Israel any more. The Red Sea represented Christ's blood, because the apostle compares the children of Israel's passage through the Red Sea to baptism, 1 Cor. x, 1, 2.But we all know that the water of baptism represents Christ's blood.
Thus Christ, the angel of God's presence, in his love and his pity, redeemed his people, and carried them in the days of old as on eagle's wings, so that none of their proud and spiteful enemies, neither Egyptians nor devils, could touch them.
This was quite a new thing that God did towards this great work of redemption. God never had done any thing like it before ; Deut. iv. 32, 34. This was a great advancement of the work that had been begun and carried on from the fall of man; a great step taken in divine providence towards a preparation for Christ's coming into the world, and
working out his great and eternal redemption ; for this was the people of whom Christ was to come. And now we may see how that plant flourished which God had planted in Abraham. Though the family of which Christ was to come, had been in a degree separated from the rest of the world before, in the calling of Abraham; yet that separation appeared not to be sufficient. For though by that separation, they were kept, as strangers and sojourners, from being united with other people in the same political societies; yet they remained mixed among them, by which means they had been in danger of wholly losing the true religion, and of being overrun with the idolatry of their neighbours. God now, therefore, by this redemption, separated them as a nation from all others, to subsist by themselves in their own political and ecclesiastical state, without having any concern with the Heathen nations, that the church of Christ might be upheld, and might keep the oracles of God; that in them might be kept up those types and prophecies of Christ and those histories and other divine previous instructions, which were necessary to prepare the way for Christ's coming
II. As this people were separated to be God's peculiar people, so all other people upon the face of the whole earth were wholly rejected and given over to Heathenism. This was one thing that God ordered in his providence to prepare the way for Christ's coming, and the great salvation he was to accomplish; for it was only to prepare the way for the more glorious and signal victory and triumph of Christ's power and grace over the wicked and miserable world, and that Christ's salvation of mankind might become the more sensible. This is the account the scripture itself gives us of the matter, Rom. xi. 30, 32. The apostle, speaking to the Gentiles that had formerly been Heathens, says, “ As ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all :" i. e. It was the will of God, that the whole world, Jews and Gentiles, should be concluded in visible and professed unbelief, that so God's mercy and Christ's salvation towards them all might be visible. For the apostle is not speaking only of that unbelief that is natural to all God's professing people as well as others, but that which appears, and is visible; such as the Jews fell into when they openly rejected Christ, and ceased to be a professing people. The apostle observes, how that first the Gentiles, even the Gentile nations, were included in a professed unbelief and open opposition to the true religion, before Christ came to prepare the way for the calling of VOL. III.