Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

" meant Jerusalem ; and by the curtains of her tabernacle, the “ cities of the holy land. Moreover, saith the prophet, those “ curtains shall extend themselves very far; in which he agrees “ with the words of Zachariah: “that Jerusalem shall be extended “'unto the gates of Damascus, and Hamar with Tyre and Sidon

shall enter into the borders of the holy land ;' (ix, 1,) even “as the Chaldee paraphrase doth expound : which also may be "confirmed out of Jeremiah, xxxi, 38. Behold the days come, “ saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord, from

the tower of Hananeel, unto the gate of the corner. And “the line shall go forth over against it, upon the hill Gareb,

* &c.' Lib. iii, c. 1, touching the meaning of the Scripture phrase “ world to come,” he says: Some understand the world

of separated souls ; others that world that shall follow a cer“ tain term of time, after the time of the resurrection; others, “ that world that begins at the very hour of the resurrection. " Which third opinion is to me the most probable. Of this opinion was R. Moses Gerundensis in a contest against “R. Moses Egyptius, who held the first of the three opinions aforesaid. And Gerundensis' opinion in sum

was this : that the world to come is that, which immediately follows “'the resurrection of the dead ; into which all that live piously,

“probously, and honestly, being raised, shall be brought, in soul “' and body conjoined, to enjoy indefinitely, and without end,

the reward of their labours.'' The sum of the second chapter of this book is, 'that the resurrection of the dead, shall be conjoined unto the days of the Messiah.' R. Menasse first learnedly proves this out of the books of Moses and the prophets; and, secondly, lets in a stream of learned ancient Rabbins consenting thereunto. “It is apparent, saith he,out of Mo"ses by that song of his, (Deut. xxx, 35—40,) 'To me belongeth "vengeance, &c. their foot shall slide in due time. For the “Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, &c. See now

that I, even I am he, and there is no God with me, I kill, and I make alive.' See here the day of the coming of the

Messiah, and the day of the resurrection are conjoined. As “ for the prophets, it is manifest out of the second chapter of

Isaiah ; . It shall come to pass in the last days, that the moun

e

t

e

[ocr errors]

tain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the 'mountains, &c. for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and He shall judge "'among the nations, &c.' (v. 245.) After the prophet had “ spoken of the time of the Messiah, presently he proceeds to

those things that are to follow, viz. to the day of judgment, " and the resurrection of the dead. For, (saith he), the day of

the Lord shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, &c. “'upon all the cedars of Lebanon, and upon all the oaks of “ Bashan, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, &c.' No doubt “ but by the day of the Lord, the prophet signifies the day of “ judgment; which otherwise is called the day of resurrection

of the dead ; for then the dead are judged : and it is called also “ the day of the Lord, because a day of admiration. Nothing " then that is ordinary shall be done, but all above nature, &c.

“ Thus far we have shown by Scripture (saith he) that the

resurrection of the dead shall be conjunctive to the coming of “ the Messiah ; next it remains to be proved, that the ancients

were of the same opinion. It is to be noted what reason they give, why the patriarchs so much desired to be buried in the holy land; which was no other than this, That they that are

there buried shall first rise.'e From whence is inferred, that the resurrection of the dead, and the coming of the Messiah are “ annexed in time. The same is found also elsewhere. This “world doth not differ from the days of the Messiah, but in “the subjecting of kings.' In Zoar is manifestly and clearly expressed, “The blessed God shall first build the temple, and

order and dispose the palace, and build the city, and then “ •the dead shall be raised out of the dust.’s The cabalists do “ found their opinion on the words of the psalmist : • The Lord

buildeth up Jerusalem, he gathereth together the outcasts of “ • Israel, he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their “' wounds.' (cxlvii, 2, 3.)

In the third chapter the Rabbin solves this question ; " whether “ within the aforesaid times shall be the end of the world ; or ar after the resurrection of the dead ?” This question (saith

he) may easily be resolved, by that we have said in the former

e Beresit. Rab. Par. 66, 74.

f Jerus, de Kilaym.

8 Par. Voy. Elar.

come.

chapter. For when the sacred Scripture treats concerning the days of the Messiah it always calls that time, the end of days.

So Gen. xlix, 1. Numb. xxiv, 14. Isa. ii, 2. Jer. xxx, 24, "and xxxi, 1. Ezek. xxxviii, 16. Dan. x, 14. Hosea iii, 5. “ Micah iv, 1.

I am not ignorant that those who dissent from "us make a double coming of the Messiah, and so expound

those places far otherwise. I have no wish at this time to dispute with any concerning the thing; but simply and “candidly to hold forth the opinion which the Hebrews profess. “From what therefore hath been said, two things do necessarily "follow : one, that the redemption of Israel shall be extended

unto the end of the world; the other, that that same end shall

come before the resurrection of the dead. And because that "end shall take its beginning in the days of Messiah, therefore

there is a necessity, that a new world shall begin from the resurrection of the dead; and therefore it is called the world to

Go thy way unto the end, and rest, and awake "in thy lot, in the end of days.' Dan. xii, 13. The same " is to be collected out of the saying of the ancients.

It is pronounced in the school of Elijah, (not the Tishbite, but some " Rabbin,) that the world shall continue six thousand years. In

two thousand is the void or empty time ; (that is the time until Abraham, being void of Moses' law ;) in two thousand is the

time of the law; in two thousand are the days of the Mes

siah. So that, as it is read elsewhere, it is not said that the " Messiah shall come in the end of four thousand years, or in " the beginning of five thousand years, but only that the days of “ the Messiah shall be two thousand years ; that is, that within " that space the Messiah shall come, whether the beginning,

middle, or end.'”h Which last words are important for us Christians : for within that space Christ is come ; and he will come again.

In the fourth chapter are declared the opinions of the ancient Rabbins, concerning the term and end of the world, As for "my opinion (saith R. Menasse) I think, that after six thousand "years, the world shall be destroyed upon one certain day, or in “one hour ; that the orbs of heaven shall make a stand, as un“ moveable ; that there shall be no more generation or corrup“ tion; and all things by the resurrection shall be renovated, “ and return to a better condition. And this out of doubt is “ the opinion of the most learned Aben Ezra, who commenting on Isaiah chapter lxv, 17, 'Behold I create new heavens, and a new earth,' &c. saith, rather we are to say that the heavens are expansed, and that God will renew the air to be

h Gem. Abodæ, Zaræ cap. 1 & 6. Sebet Juedah.

singular good, &c. and then also shall there be added to the “' earth fresh vigour, whereby it shall be made new. Accord

ing to which verdict of Aben Ezra, (saith Menasse) there is a

total, and universal reforming, or new framing of the world. And although the text hath it ‘new heavens, yet there is no “ necessity, nor doth the sense require, that we should under

stand new heavens to be meant of other heavens, diverse from “ these now in being; but only that there shall be a certain re“ formation of them into better. For though the ancients have

said, that after six thousand years the world shall be destroyed “ in one; the meaning is not, that after six thousand years

there shall be nothing : for if the space after the six thou“ sand years should be nothing, how can it be measured by

Again, the word destroy does not signify a total annihilation ; but only a ruin, or lapsing of things. To which purpose the ancients

say

that Noah saw the new world ; yet " at that time the world was not altogether destroyed, but re“newed, according to Psalm cii, 26. The sum is, that the “ world shall not be destroyed for a thousand years ; but in one

day, or punctum of an hour, the earth shall suffer a mighty

change ; and upon that change immediately shall follow the “ resurrection of the dead, and a new world. Even as it is in “ Zoar, ‘From the hour of the resurrection of the dead, the “world shall remain stable,'”

In the fifth chapter is held forth by the Rabbins, what kind of ruin there shall be of the world before the great restoration of it yet to come. And concerning the Jews' war with Gog and “ Magog, all the Rabbins (saith Manasse) agree in this, that “ the Israelites after their return into their own country at the “ time of their redemption, are not to enjoy a full and per“fect tranquillity and peace, until the last war with Gog and

Magog shall be finished. For it shall come to pass (saith he

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ that after the Israelites shall return into Palestine, that nation

of Gog and Magog i shall come to invade and possess that “country, and that with an huge multitude of men, and infinite “ forces of soldiers; and having again expulsed thence the

Israelites, they shall endeavour to subjugate them under their

power. All which may be confirmed by divers places of Scripture ;-as Ezekiel chap. xxxvii, xxxviii. Joel iii, 1, 2. Dan. xii, 1, &c. And this war being ended

there shall then be a great change of all things : (see Ezekiel “ xxxviii, 19-23,) for then, in my opinion, shall be the end of " the world." ;

" But if any rightly weigh what the ancients have said, especially that in Midras a-Nehelam, he shall find that these “ things are to be understood of the new world, which begins “ with the resurrection from the dead. The sum of the “matter is this : That unto the advent of the Messiah, is knit “on, as immediately subsequent, the resurrection from the dead. “ Now it is worth the weighing, what space there may be of the former to the beginning of the latter. In the Sanhedrim

chap. xi, divers opinions are propounded. R. Eliezer maketh the space to be four hundred years. R. Elhazar Ben Hazariah

[ocr errors]

i Who this Gog and Magog are is not stated by the Jewish Rabbins. Mr. Mede saith that the Turk is Gog and Magog ; (Diat. pars iv, p. 546;) which Dr. Twiss highly approves : but the Jewish Rabbins deliver their minds uncertainly. " I know (saith R. Menasse) that others, by the war of Gog and Magog, do “ understand the antichristian age that shall be at the end of the world." Hence Augustine saith “ Gog is the Devil, and Magog the army of Antichrist." (De Civ. Dei, lib. xx, c. 1,) Ambrose thinks Gog to be the Goths, who invaded, and everted many of the Roman provinces. (De demonst. Evang. lib. ii, cap. 3.) “ Eusebius (saith he) did think Gog to be the Roman Emperor, and Magog his “ kingdom and empire." Pliny asserteth “ That there is a city of Cava Syria, “ called by the Syrians Magog; but which he calls Bombice and Hierapolis. “ The Hebrews (saith he) know indeed that Magog is of the posterity of Japhet ; “ but which is that nation at this day, they do not know.” Lib. v, c. 23.

j Indeed there shall be then an end of this world ; because it is the beginning of the days of Messiah : but then is not the ultimate end of the world, as argued by R. Menasse, from Ezekiel xxxviii, 10—23. For sword, pestilence, blood, &c. by which the Lord pleads, are not consistent with the ultimate end of the world. And in the next chapter, the Prophet, describing the destruction of Gog, saith, that he shall not be totally destroyed, but only in part. (v. 2.) And further, Ezekiel, (in chapter xl. to the end of the book,) describes a glorious state of the Jews on earth after the destruction of Gog and Magog; which shews that the Prophet's former description of their destruction cannot be at the ultimate end of the world. The restoring of the temple of the Jews, described in that fortieth chapter, &c., is a type of New Jerusalem : as Mr. Mede asserts, and Dr. Twiss approves. (Diat. pars iv, p. 546.)

D

« PreviousContinue »