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The Shadow of the Hand of God,
I have put my words in thy mouth, and have hid thee in the
shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundation of the earth, and say to Zion thou art my people. Isaiah, li. 16.
OF 'this remarkable passage, they have missed the meaning in all the antient versions ; not through inattention or ignorance of the task in which they were engaged, but merely as it would seem, from seeing set forth in the original, that as a future act, which they imagined was now past—the creation of the heavens and the earth.' In another part of the same prophet, they might have seen that the Almighty had given notice, he was “ to create new heavens and new earth, and that the former should no more be remembered or come into mind.” Accordingly the Septuagint, which has led the way to the other versions, has rendered the passage in this manner, “ I will put my words in thy mouth, and under the shadow of my hand will I cover thee, by which [hand] I established the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth." In the original, the end of hiding them in the
shadow of his hand, is strongly marked. It is for the planting of the heavens, for the founding of the earth, and for to say to Zion thou art my people.
In the language of figure, the shadow denotes power and protection. To trust in the shadow of Egypt, means to rely on the protection of Pharoah. “ If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in the shadow of my wings,” were the words of the bramble to the trees, which had assembled to elect a king. Judges, ix. 15.
It is probable that this form of expression took its rise from the cloud, which went before the Israelites in the wilderness. Its wide expansion over the camp, might be compared to wings, to which they owed their defence from the scorching heat of the noon-day sun, while the watchful eye of the glorious Person, who'resided in the cloud, protected them from every enemy. When the cloud no longer preceded them in their journeyings, the form of the expression was still preserved, and what was true at first in the popular sense, would now be so only in the figurative. Hence the Psalmist, long after this appearance ceased, says, “ therefore shall the children of men come, and put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psal. xxxvi. 9.
This passage had been already produced as the ground upon which to stand, in shewing forth the end or design of the intermediate state. It is reproduced here for the purpose of entering more fully into the subject, and of joining to it other auxiliary passages, in order to confirm and illustrate the doctrine it appears to contain :
The state of Paradise then is preparatory for that brighter world." That I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundation of the earth, and say unto Zion, thou art my people.”
While time continues its progress, the children of God, and the wicked part of mankind, live blended into one community. No public avowal takes place; no visible separation meets the view. The wheat and the tares remain undistinguished in the same field, and partaking of the same suns and showers. Should the hand of the violent and the cruel attempt to root up, and to destroy the wheat, no power interposes to deliver, no voice from heaven arrests the instrument of death, or attests the innocence of the chosen people: but, on the day of general “ making up,” the voice will be heard. God will pronounce in the hearing of all created beings, “ They are mine.” To Zion he will say, “ thou art my people.” .
In harmony with this general scheme of things, Christ will not save Peter from the cross, nor Paul from the block, but in the shadow of his hand he
will will hide them. Although they have confessed him before men, he will not confess them until the period of the manifestation of the sons of God, when he will do it in the hearing of all generations. 6 When the Lord shall have thus built up Zion, then will he appear in his glory.”
The Chaldee paraphrase on this passage of Isaiah, throws a new light on a sentence of St. Peter, which discovers that it contains a sentiment of nearly the same import, and on which passage it would appear this apostle had his eye, as what he might have frequently heard read in the service of the synagogue. “ And in the shadow of my power have I protected thee.” Of this, the apostle's words are nearly a translation (tous en dunamei Theou phrurumenous) “ who are guarded under the power of God.” i Pet. i. 5. Here the original denotes such a keeping as the idea of a fortress suggests, (dia pisteos ) in trust. This is a verbum solemne of the Jewish church, and a characteristic of Messiah's days. “ In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell (Lebetach) in trust, and the name whereby he shall be called is the Lord our righteousness.” The common version, safely, does not come up to the force of the original, which expresses not merely security, but the emission of an act of trust. The Seventy render it pepoithos, which is just the same with the phrase of the New Testament, through faith.
Should it be said that this act is exerted upon earth, this will not be denied; but it is contended that this exertion of faith is set forth as being continued through the whole time they are under the power of God (eis soterian) to the last day, when that salvation shall be revealed. This proves to a demontsration, the continuance of this trust, through the whole of the intermediate period that they are under the power of God. For let it be observed, that this salvation, after which they send forth the eager expectation, is not a thing which is to be obtained immediately, in the event of death, but that which is distant, prepared to be revealed in the last time. This appears from the words of St. Paul, just before his death. “ The 2.Tim.6.6 time of my departure is at hand-henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give me at that day.”—“They have not yet received their joy,” Heb.ll.40 says Origen ; “ not even the apostles ; but even they are in waiting, that I too should be made a partaker of their joy.” Of the same opinion were those of the Jewish church, who lived during the ages that intervened between the last of the prophets and the coming of Messiah. “ By the envy Wis.2.24 of the Devil, death came into the world,” As a salvo to this, they add, “ But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God. In the eyes of fools they seem to die, and their departure is