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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

ON perusing the records of antiquity we are met by two most striking features pervading all the productions of literature. On the one hand, a universal wail ascends up to heaven deploring the wickedness and the misery of the human race; on the other, a universal strain of expectation vibrates in the human heart, looking forward to a better future and to a coming redeemer. Both these features deserve a moment’s reflection.

1. GENERAL MISERY: a. Among the Egyptians and Indians.—The ancient Egyptians and the Indians looked upon life as a time of penance and reparation. According to them, the soul is a fallen spirit condemned to a union with a material body in punishment for its previous misdeeds. We read in the Veda (v. Bohlen, “Altes Indien,” Theil 1, p. 168): “What joy can be found on earth where everything grows worse? Kings have been overturned, mountains have been sunk, the pole has changed its place, the stars have swerved from their course, the whole earth has been visited by a flood, and the spirits have been thrown out of heaven.” Buddha makes the absolute and necessary connection of sorrow with all individual existence the first of the “Four Noble Truths” which are the fundamental articles of the Buddhist creed. It is written: “This, O Monks, is the holy truth concerning suffering. Death is suffering; old age is suffering; sickness is suffering; to be united with what is not loved is suffering; to be parted from what is loved is suffering; not to attain one’s desires is suffering” (Kellogg, “The Light of Asia and the Light of the World,” London, 1885, p. 12).

b. Among the Persians and Mexicans.—According to Zoroaster the world is at present ruled by Ahriman; and the old Mexicans said to the child at baptism: “Dear child, Ometeuctli and Omecihuatle have created thee in heaven and have sent thee on the earth. But know that life, which thou now beginnest, is sad, laborious, and full of miseries, and thou shalt not be able to eat thy bread without hardship. May God assist thee in the many miseries which await thee” (Clavigero, t. ii. p. 86).

c. Testimony of Human Sacrifices and Other Rites.—Many of the pagan traditions explain the origin of human sacrifices by recalling the time of the Nephilim and the murder of Cain. According to the opinion of the same nations human sacrifices are to cease at the end of the present era. The Mexicans, e.g., believed that the goddess Centeotl or Tzinteotl (like the Greek goddess of justice, who had disappeared on account of human sin, but was to return at the end) would finally gain the victory, abolish human sacrifices, and substitute the offering of the firstlings of the harvest in their place. In the same manner, the Indian Kali (the fallen Eve) has caused death and human sacrifice alike. But she rules only over the present age, and the good Durga-Bhawani will return and gain the victory (Humboldt,“Ans. der Cord.” ii. p. 60). Again, the ceremonies of baptism, circumcision, and the other rites of purification following among so many nations the birth of the child, are as many signs of the general belief in man’s innate depravity.

d. The Greek Sages.—The testimony of the Greek literature is especially important in this question of an early belief in man’s fall, because among the Greek writers we meet not only prating collectors of every myth and fable, but men of world-wide wisdom. Hesiod speaks of the iron age consuming man in labor and sorrow (Op. et dies, edit. Lipsiæ 1778, v. 176–181); Homer considers man the most miserable of all that lives and moves on the face of the earth (Iliad, xvii. 446, 447; cf. xxiv. 522 ff.); and the ancient oracle given according to tradition by Silenus to Midas (Arist. ap. Plut. consol. ad Apoll. p. 27; cf. Cicero, Tuscul. Disp. i, 48) states that it is best for man not to be born.

e. The Later Greek Writers.—The opinion of the later scientific Greeks perfectly agrees with that of the earliest writers of fable. For though at first sight the fully developed Greek religion presents an aspect of cheerfulness, especially when it is compared with the melancholy and penitential religious systems of the East, still the greatest thinkers of the nation, one and all, maintain the existence of a universal sorrow. Socrates is of opinion that we must cling to the best of human beliefs as to a board on the ocean, till we shall be favored with the safety of a divine boat (Phædo, p. 85, D). The same sage advises Alcibiades to wait with his sacrifices till Providence shall take away his blindness and teach him how to behave toward man and God (Alcibiades, ii. pp. 150, 151). Plato describes the lot of the just man on earth in so vivid and true a manner that many have seen in his words a prophecy of Christ’s sufferings: “The just man who does not only appear to be just, but is so in truth, will be bound, scourged, tortured, blinded in both eyes, and finally, after suffering all possible pain, he will be hanged; and then he will understand that one must not wish to be just, but only to appear so” (De rep. ii. 362).

f. Greek Philosophic Thought.—Though Plato describes the ideal state, he at the same time maintains that it exists nowhere on earth, and in conclusion he consoles man with the view of the future life (De rep. c. x.; Phæd. 246). Krantor, a disciple of Plato’s school, teaches that life has through man’s guilt become laborious and wretched. In no one is it found in its normal condition (Plut. cons. ad Apoll. p. 323, ed. Hutten). Timæus of Lokri, an adherent of the Pythagoræan school, confesses that the struggle in us between good and evil is owing more to the guilt of our ancestors than to the elements of which our nature is composed (De anima mundi, p. 103). In general, that life is a state of captivity, a penitential state or a sickness, is defended throughout by the pagan philosophers from Pythagoras down to Cicero. The cry of anguish rising up to heaven from suffering human nature is well symbolized in Prometheus riveted to the hardest rock, and having his heart eaten by the vulture. The “worm that dieth not” of the New Testament and the “conscience” of the Christian Ethics could not have been represented in a more striking manner. Well may St. Paul write to the Romans (8:22): “We know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain even till now.” Modern paganism, throwing off what it considers the shackles of the Christian redemption, returns to the same state of wailing anguish which we notice in the literature of classic paganism (cf. Byron’s Cain, with Goethe’s comment).

g. Testimony of Roman Writers.—Man’s cry for help and pity grows louder the more civilized the human race becomes. When the wisdom and the civilization of the universe had been concentrated in Rome, then it was that Rome groaned most piteously. Cicero (De rep. 3) says that nature is not man’s mother, but his stepmother, producing him as she does weak and naked of body, timorous and cowardly in spirit, prone to passions, and endowed with only a spark of soul and understanding. And Seneca (De ira, iii. 26; cf. ii. 9, 27, de benef. i. 10) considers it useless to cover up with smooth words the universal malady. We are all bad. What one blames in another he finds hidden in his own breast. Wickedly we live among the wicked. The only consolation Seneca can offer his reader is the approaching ruin of the world and of the human race. In the new order of things man will be free from vice (Quaest. nat. 3 sub fin.). Marcus Aurelius too complains that the iron age has entered, and that fidelity, honor, justice, and truth have fled from earth to heaven (τῶν πρὸς ἑαυτόν, 1. 5). The satires of Juvenal repeat the same universal complaint (Sat. xiii. 19–22; xv. 70, 71). The number of the good has been reduced to that of the Nile’s outlets and of the gates of Thebes. If a god deigns to look down upon the earth, he turns away, deriding and despising the human race. In the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans we find the explanation of the fact that God allowed man to fall so low (8:20): “The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope.”

2. GENERAL HOPE OF REDEMPTION.—a. The Persians.—But the expectation of a future redeemer is not less universally expressed in the classical literature of antiquity than is the persuasion of the fall. A glimpse at the national traditions of the various tribes and countries in the ancient world will prove the existence of such a universal expectation, and show the character of the redeemer thus expected. To begin with the Persian traditions, they must be considered connectedly in order to be fully understood. Ahriman with the help of his poison overcomes the bull Abudad. The latter when dying utters the words: “Behold, what is to happen to the creatures that are to come: It is my will to protect them against evil.” From the right hip of the dying Abudad proceeds Kajomords, the first man, and Ahriman now directs his fury against him. After a thirty years’ battle Kajomords is at length overcome, but he too at the moment of his death utters the prophecy: “Thou hast entered as enemy, but all the men of my seed will do what is good and will overthrow thee” (Zendavesta, Budehesh. 3 and 4; Kleuker, Anhang z. Zend., Bd. ii., Th. 3, p. 172).

The whole setting of the latter prediction in the Persian system of religion shows that the term “all men” does not refer to all the descendants of Kajomords, but denotes only all the future redeemers. In point of fact, the Persians apply it to Zoroaster, as the context demands. For when Goshorun is standing near the dead body of the bull and laments over the misfortune that has befallen the earth, Ormuzd answers him in the following way: “The bull is fallen indeed through Ahriman. But this man is reserved for an earth and a time where Ahriman will have no power.” Then showing him the Ferver (spirit of Zoroaster), Ormuzd continues: “Him I shall give to the world, and he will keep it pure from evil.”

Though the adherents of the Zendavesta apply this prophecy to Zoroaster, as we have seen, they do not take the latter for the true Messias. Sôsyôsh will, according to them, be the true and final redeemer, and the two prophets Osheder Mah and Osheder Bami will precede him. In the last millennium, Osheder Bami will appear and bind the sun for ten days and nights, convert one half of the human race to the law, and add the twenty-second Nosk or part to the law. Four hundred years later, Osheder Mah will come, bind the sun for twenty days and twenty nights, convert one third of the human race to the law, and add the twenty-third Nosk or part to the same. At the end of times, Sôsyôsh will appear, bind the sun for thirty days and thirty nights, i.e., extend the time of the day to that length, add the twenty-fourth Nosk or part to the law, and convert the whole human race to the Zendavesta. As to the birth of the three redeemers, all three will be born of pure virgins. As Zoroaster sprang from the seed of Kajomords the first man, so will the future saviours spring from the seed of Zoroaster. For the seed will accidentally be mixed with the waters of lake Kâsava, where the three undefiled virgins will conceive when bathing in the water. We need not here give the further details about the victory of Zoroaster’s seed, about the virginal birth of the prophets, and about the comet Gurzsher, corresponding perhaps to the star of Jacob.

b. The Indians.—Turning now to India we may at first imagine ourselves face to face with religions that are at the farthest possible remove from Christianity—religions that leave no room for the existence of a God or of a redeemer. Brahmanism, indeed, retains the name of a God, proceeding, as it does, from the one God Varuna to the worship of its three hundred and thirty millions of gods. But, after all, the world is for the Brahmanist nothing but an emanation from Brahma, the absolutely holy, infinite and impersonal being. Gods, spirits, different castes of men, animals, trees, bushes, herbs, and, finally, the lifeless and the inorganic matter proceed in regular order from the same impersonal source. Of a God in the true sense of the word there is not the slightest question.

Consoling as this system may seem to the agnostics and the positivists of our day, Buddhism is still more congenial to them. Its very origin commends Buddhism to its admirers, beginning as it does with the rejection of the whole Brahmanic system of supposed religious revelation. As modern unbelief is noted for its utter contempt of authority in matters of science and of religion, so did Buddha speak as a “plain man” who had sought for rest and found it without the assistance of Brahman priest, and without the light of divine revelation (cf. Kellogg, “The Light of Asia and the Light of the World,” London, 1885, p. 16).

Besides, like the atheism of our modern scientists, Buddha’s atheism is modest, negative and agnostic. As Herbert Spencer thinks that “the power which is manifested in the universe is utterly inscrutable,” so Buddha believes that “there is one thing which is not in the dominion of the intellect—to know whence come all the beings of the universe, and whither they go” (A. Rémusat, mel. posth. 121, quotes an ancient Buddhist Sutta; cf. Koeppen, “Die Religion des Buddha,” p. 231).

Returning now to our subject, both Brahmanism and Buddhism recognize the necessity of redemption, but in such a manner that they make man his own redeemer. If the Gospel tells us of a God who became man to save the human race, Brahmanism speaks of man being physically absorbed into God, and Buddhism reveres a man who became God, even the Buddha, who, under the Bo-tree, attained to all power and knowledge. When the adherent of Brahmanism, after his millions of births and purifications of the most various kinds, is finally reabsorbed into the divinity whence he had emanated, he attains to his happiness through his own unaided strength. Similarly Buddha did not save man, but only showed him how he may save himself. Buddhism ever insists on the fact that the Buddha attained his end by his own exertion and merit, and that any man who is willing to walk in the same path will arrive at the same end. Fully in accordance with this doctrine, Buddhism denies the existence of an impassable gulf between the brute-creation and man. A pig or a rat may, at any time, become a man, and even a Buddha, as Buddha himself is said to have been at one time a pig, at another a rat (Kellogg, “The Light of Asia and the Light of the World,” London, 1885, p. 7).

Gautama Buddha was by no means the first, nor will he be the last Buddha. The succession of Buddhas is believed to be without beginning and without end. We become acquainted with Gautama first when he is living at an inconceivably remote period in the city Amaravati as a rich Brahman, named Sumedha. Reflecting on the vanity and sorrow inseparable from life, he determined to renounce his wealth and become an ascetic, that he might attain a state in which there is no rebirth. About the same time, Dipankara Buddha appeared in the world, and as on one occasion he was coming where the ascetic Sumedha was staying, the Bodhisat (he who is to become a Buddha) cast himself in the mire that Dipankara might walk over him. And as he lay in the mire, beholding the majesty of Dipankara Buddha with unblenching gaze, he thought thus: “If I wished, I might this day destroy within me all human passions. But why should I in disguise arrive at the knowledge of the truth? I will attain omniscience and become a Buddha, and save men and angels. Why should I cross the ocean, resolute but alone? I will attain omniscience and enable men and angels to cross. By this resolution of mine, I, a man of resolution, embarking in the ship of the truth, I will carry across with me men and angels.”

This is the much-vaunted resolution by which Gautama Buddha gave himself up for the salvation of man. But how does it compare with the self-sacrifice of the Son of God, who gave himself up for our redemption, as one sent by the Father? (Kellogg, 1. c., pp. 65 ff.) Whether the forms of Brahmanism and Buddhism thus far described be regarded as very ancient, or as comparatively recent, is of little importance in the present question; in either case it is certain that the great body of Indian nations recognizes the necessity of redemption.

c. The Chinese.—Turning now to the religious ideas of the Chinese, it must be kept in mind that for ages they have been educated and lived in the system of Confucius. Not as if Confucius could claim to be the founder of a religion, such as were Buddha and Mohammed; but still, his maxims and principles have penetrated into the very marrow of Chinese life and Chinese thought. The most telling characteristic of Confucius is found in the Luen-jue (Plath, p. 89): “He did not refuse chosen food, nor well-cleaned rice, nor fine-cut meat; but spoiled food, stale fish, tainted meat, and all that had a bad color or odor he did not touch. He did not eat what had not been well carved, or what had not its proper sauce. Even when there was abundance of meat, he did not overeat himself; as to wine, he did not bind himself to any definite quantity, but he never allowed his mind to be disturbed. He did not drink wine bought in the market, nor did he eat dried meat. Never did he eat without Ingwer, … and while eating he did not speak.… When his mat was not placed right, he did not sit down on it.… When invited to a well-provided dinner, he changed color, stood up, and expressed his obligations to his host.” From this description we see that Confucius was nothing but a utilitarian of the worst class. Still, even this Epicurean materialist announced that the truly Holy One should appear in the West.

Whether we refer to She-wen-lui-thsin (c. 35) or Chan-Thang-she-shao-tching-thi (c. 1) or Lini-theu-Thsio-nan-chu, we always find the same hope expressed. The minister Pi said to Confucius: “Master, are you not a holy man?” He answered: “In spite of my greatest efforts, I cannot recollect any man worthy of this name.” Pi replied: “Were not the three princes (the founders of the first three dynasties, Hia, Shang, and Dsheu) saints?” “The three princes,” said Confucius, “were possessed of boundless goodness, a lofty spirit, and an unconquerable fortitude. But I am not willing to decide whether they have been saints.” Again the minister asked: “Were not the five emperors (the patriarchs before the flood, from Fo-hi to Shuen) saints?” “The five emperors,” he replied, “were good, of great mildness and incorruptible justice; but I do not know whether they have been saints.” “But,” continued Pi, “are not the three illustrious ones (i.e., the three so-called Sanhoang or macrocosmic emperors before Fo-hi, Tien-hoang or emperor-heaven, Ti-hoang or emperor-earth, Shin-hoang or emperor-man) worthy of this name?” Confucius said: “The three illustrious ones well knew how to employ their time of life; but I dare not call them saints.” Wholly astonished, the minister exclaimed: “Who then is the true saint?” Confucius replied enthusiastically, but in a soft tone of voice: “I have heard that the true saint will arise in the far West; he will end all confusion without governing, he will excite unconditional faith without speaking, he will produce an ocean of meritorious works without changing the appearance of things. No one knows his name, but I have heard that he alone should be the true saint.”

The old prophecy according to which the true saint was to arise in the far West caused the emperor Ming-di, of the dynasty Han, to send about 65 A.D. two mandarins to the West with orders not to return until they should have found either the saint himself or his religion. Arriving in India, the two envoys accidentally came to know the rising sect of Buddhism, and took it for the expected religion of the great saint. In consequence of this, the Chinese Buddhists highly esteem the saying of Confucius, applying it to their own reputed prophet. Omitting numerous other references to this same great saint in the Chinese traditions, it must be noted that they attribute to him almost divine attributes, and even speak of his sufferings and his battles. Desguignes (Mem. de l’Acad. des Inscr. t. 45, p. 543) maintains: “In China there exists a very old belief that the religion of the idols by which the primitive religion has been vitiated will be followed by a new religion which will last till the end of the world.” And Ramsay (Disc. sur la Mythol. p. 150; cf. Nicholas, “Philos. Stud.,” Bd. 2, p. 130) tells us: “The books Likyki speak of a time when all will be restored to its primitive splendor, owing to the advent of a hero called Kiuntse, i.e., shepherd or prince, who is also named “most holy,” “universal teacher,” and “highest truth.”

d. The Later Arabians and Persians.—Passing on to the nations of western Asia, we meet first of all among the writings of the later Arabs and Persians the fable of the pre-Adamite Solymans. Solyman Hakki distinguished himself in the battle against the demons and the giants; but Anthalus he could not destroy, in spite of his repeated victories. Consulting the goddess Takuin, the mistress of fate, she answered him that the victory over that Solyman was reserved for a descendant of Adam, who would reduce him to his obedience and take his life in case he should refuse the oath of allegiance (Lüken, “Die Traditionen,” p. 369). The bird Simmorg, the Phœnix of the Arabs and the Persians, revealed according to the fables of those nations to Thamuraz: “Another Solyman will arise out of Adam’s race, and will surpass all in majesty and power, and after him no other will appear on earth” (D’Herbelot s. v. Soliman ben Daud, Thahamurath). These traditions are the more remarkable, because they are not applied by the Mohammedans to their prophet, but to Solomon. Now Solomon himself loses his magic ring and falls into the power of Asmodi. Subsequently, his wife receives the promise that the Messias should descend from her. As to Mohammed, he is identified with the Paraclete, his name Achmed agreeing in meaning with Periclyt; but notwithstanding all this, the Mohammedans expect the return of the Mahadi, their tenth Iman, born in the year 255 of their era. He will do battle against Antichrist, and together with Issa (Jesus) he will establish the reign of the millennium.

However scanty may be our knowledge of the ancient Egyptian traditions, we know, at least, that they expected an Apocatastasis, or restoration, at the end of our present era. The Messianic hopes of the Egyptians may, however, be traced in their fable of Horus, the son of Isis, and of Osiris. From Horus’ very birth both mother and son are persecuted by Typhon; the son is killed and sunk to the depths of the lower world. But being destined as the seed of the woman to kill the serpent, he rises again to bind and slay Python (Plut. de Is. xix.). Diodorus tells us that among the Libyans the following tradition was current: Ammon, driven out of his reign, predicted the coming of his son Dionysius, the restoration of his kingdom by the instrumentality of his son, and the latter’s divine dignity and worship (Diod. iii. 73). In the light of this prophecy we understand why Alexander the Great claimed to be a son of Ammon.

e. The Greeks.—Among the Greeks too we find Messianic expectations based upon Messianic prophecies. Leto or Latona, after her fall, must err about and is persecuted by the dragon Pytho, because she has received the promise that her seed shall conquer and slay the serpent. She brings forth her twins, and Apollo now represents both Cain (killing Hyacinthus) and the Messias (conquering the serpent Pytho at the foot of Mount Parnassus). But Greek hope was not satisfied with a past fulfilment of the prophecy. According to them, Apollo will return at the end of the iron age and restore the golden age.

Besides Apollo, many other Messianic characters are known in Greek literature. We need only recall Jason, Epaphus, Perseus, and Hercules. All are born of a mortal mother, but conceived of a god; in the case of all there is the characteristic persecution on the part of the bad principle; all are noted for their victory over the serpent or the dragon, and nearly all bruise the monster’s head.

The fable of Prometheus illustrates the Greek Messianic hope most beautifully. Riveted to the rock in punishment for his compassion with man, and fed upon by the never-sated vulture, the hero gives forth the oracle which the old goddess Themis had confided to him alone. The rule of Zeus is to have its end by the instrumentality of a son whom Zeus himself will beget of mortal seed. More powerful than his father, he will give Prometheus his freedom (Æschyl., Prometheus vinct., vv. 906 ff.; Pind., Isthm. vii. 26; Apollon. Rhod., iv. 794 ff.; Apollod., iii. 13, 5; Quint. Smyrn. v. 338; Schol. Hom. Il. i. 519; Schol. Lycophr. 178). To understand the oracle right, it must be remembered that Zeus represented among the Greeks a double character: he was the highest god, but at the same time he was the originator of the iron age. Hence it appears that the conqueror of the iron age and its Lord is at the same time the liberator of the god who suffers for the good of the human race. We cannot help noticing the difference between the pagan Faust of the Christian Goethe, and the Christian Prometheus of the pagan Æschylus. The former leaves the discord between striving humanity and the everlasting deity unsettled; the latter saves Prometheus, the representative of mankind, by the vicarious sacrifice of a benevolent god.

f. The Germanic Races.—We find the Messianic expectations not less flourishing among the Germanic races than among the Greeks, the Indians, and the other nations of the far East. Baldur and Tyr are, according to the German fable, the sons of the first parents Odin and Frigga. Baldur dies early by the hands of the blind Hodur; instead of Tyr, properly Tius or Deus, we find also Thor, the giant thunderer, whose rôle seems to agree exactly with that of Cain. In his Messianic capacity Thor reveals himself especially in his battle against the serpent Mitgard, which dwells deep in the abysses of the sea. But according to the later Edda, Thor will not conquer the serpent fully till about the twilight of the gods, i.e., the end of the present era. Paganism is here again conscious of the Messias’ coming at the end of time in spite of the mythic endeavors to make the first son of man the redeemer of the race. Among the more recent Messianic heroes must be noted Sigurd, or Sigfrid, whom the old Northern genealogies place in the fifth generation after Odin—i.e., in the time after the flood. In order to connect his descent with the fall in paradise, the fable starts with the eating of the apple. The giant woman gives the apple to Rerir, who eats it, and in consequence his wife becomes pregnant, thus giving rise to the race of the Völsungr, Sigurd’s family. We need not here delay over Sigfrid’s conquering the serpent, regaining the golden treasure, and redeeming Brynhilde, the enchanted virgin.

Besides these redeemers of the past, another Messias of the future was expected by the Germanic races. Descending from Odin and the giant woman Gridr, Vidar will be the most powerful and the strongest after the Lord of thunder. He is now hidden, but when at the end of time the monsters of darkness are once more let loose, he will destroy the Fenrirswolf by stepping on his head or into his throat. For this purpose he will be shod with the celebrated shoe made of all the leather strips that will be collected till the end of time. Odin and all the other gods will then perish, and the golden age will return.

g. The Celtic Races.—Among the Celts we find the traditions concerning King Arthur and the Parzival. After travelling about in the world and destroying all that is bad, Arthur with his knights is enchanted in order to return at some future time, and then restore the old order of things. Parzival, the son of Gamuret, the biblical Gomer, has a brother Feirefiss, entirely unlike himself. After incurring a curse by the murder of the knight Gahewiz, he errs about in the world, redeems the sinful king of the holy Gral Amfortas, and reconquers that treasure; then he withdraws into the desert and does not return.

h. The Esthenians.—The traditions existing among the Esthens concerning Kalewe Poeg, the son of Kalewa, the god of thunder, deserve a special mention. The father first prophesies to his wife the birth of a son, who is to be entirely like himself. The young hero’s greatest deed is his victory over the old sorcerer in the sea Peipus. But as we learn in the Kalewala, while Kalewe Poeg severs the head of the sorcerer from his body, he loses his sword. The future redeemer expected by the Esthens will find this sword and use it. According to the Finnish version of the Kalewala, the hero is named Lemminkainen; in his youth he is killed and cut into pieces, but he will be raised to life after his mother has gathered all the pieces in the realm of the dead. He will also regain the Sampo, i.e., the lost treasure of paradise, in the land of the northern giants.

i. The Tribes of the Pacific Islands.—Messianic expectations are also found among the wild tribes of the South Sea and of America. Among the Sandwich Islanders we meet the old tradition that their god and the first man, Rono, had left the island in the following manner: His wife, having sinned with a mortal man, had been thrown by the enraged husband into the depths of the sea. Penitent and sorry for his deed, he set out in a boat for the paradisiacal land Haiti, i.e., Taheiti, the mother-country of the Sandwich Islanders. Rono left, however, the consoling promise that at some future time he would return on a rich floating island, bringing with him all that man could desire. When Captain Cook first landed on the island, the inhabitants took him for the returning Rono; and though they killed him, they even now venerate his bones as those of a god. The expectation existing on the Society Islands, that at some future date a miraculous boat, “the ship of the Mawi,” should appear, probably refers to the same tradition among the inhabitants that at a remote past time their god left their island in his boat.

k. The Mexicans.—The Mexicans too believed that their beneficent god Quetzalcoatl, who had been obliged to leave the country after the golden age had flourished under his rule, would return and restore the former state of happiness. The old religion with its human sacrifices was then to cease, and the first-fruits of the earth were to be offered instead of men. The return of the just woman Centeotl would, as a matter of course, accompany that of the god. It is well known that the Mexicans took the Spaniards, on their first arrival in Mexico, for the messengers of Quetzalcoatl. We need only recall the words of Montezuma addressed to the new arrivals: “We well know,” he said, “that the great king under whose obedience you stand is a descendant of our own Quetzalcoatl, who is Lord of the seven caverns of Navatlaka and rightful king of the seven nations from whom the Mexican empire has taken its rise. This great Quetzalcoatl has left us several prophecies, which we look upon as infallible truth. From these as well as from the records which for many centuries have been kept in our history, we know that he has left this land and has sought new lands in the East, leaving the promise that in time to come a nation descending from him should return and change our laws and our system of government.”

l. The Peruvians.—As to the Peruvians, they had very nearly the same traditions. Their two most remarkable heroes were Inka Manko Capak, the founder of the empire, and the Inka Virakocha, its restorer. The latter had prophesied to the Peruvians that at some future period the Inkas should lose both their power and the worship which was paid them. At the same time, they expected the return of Virakocha, or their Messias; and an ancient tradition had fixed the period of salvation as following the twelfth generation of Inkas. In point of fact, the twelfth Inka, Huayna Capak, when at the point of death, heard of the Spaniards’ arrival at the coast, and announced to the nobles of the realm and to his sons that now the old prophecy of the Sun, their father, should be fulfilled, and that the rule of the Inkas should cease with himself. Those strangers who had landed at the coast were no doubt the very men indicated by the prophecy; they would bring better laws, and conquer besides the kingdom of the Inkas many other kingdoms. The Inka Atahualpa, the son of Capak Huayna, saluted the Spaniard Pizarro: “Welcome to my lands, Capak Virakocha!”

m. Domingo, the Algonquin, etc.—According to tradition, a similar Messianic hope was entertained in the island of Domingo, and communicated to Columbus on landing in the place. Even in Greenland the expectation is prevalent that towards the end of time the golden age will begin, and the earth will assume a new and more beautiful form. We may also appeal to the Algonquin fables concerning Manabozho, or Mishapu, or Hiawatha. The Christian Apaches of Mexico identify Jesus with their serpent-killer, Tuballishine, and Tuballishine’s mother with the virgin Mary. The traditions of the Caribbean Islands, that formerly a son of the god Puru had come from heaven and conquered the serpent, seem to recall the story of St. Michael fighting against the dragon (cf. Kruse, Urgeschichte der Esthen, pp. 176 ff.; Kalewala, 14,15, 39 rune; Kotzebue, Reise um die Welt, Bd. ii. p. 88; Ellis, Reise durch Hawaii, Deutsche Uebers., Hamburg, 1827, p. 67; Ellis, Polynesian Res., v. ii. p. 53; Clavigero, stor. di Messico, t. ii. p. 11; Humboldt, Vues des Cordill., t. i. p. 265; Allg. Hist. d. R. Th. xiii. p. 239, 346; Allg. Gesch. von Amerika, Th. 2, p. 107; Garcilasso de la Vega, Hist. des Yncas, l. v. c. 28; l. ix. c. 15; Kranz, Gesch. von Groenl., Th. 1, p. 263).

With the exception of the negro tribes, concerning whose traditions we know very little, all the pagan nations of both the old and the new world have their own special Messianic prophecies, which are all said to date from the very beginning of man’s existence on earth. According to all, the present iron age is to pass away when the race shall have reached the height of depravity. The age of sin and misery shall cease; even the very gods who, like jealous demons, guard the world at present, shall lose their power, and a mighty and wise ruler and hero shall spring from the seed of the first woman, being at the same time of divine origin, and shall crush the head of the demon and initiate an age of happiness and innocence, not unlike the original golden age of the world.

n. The Romans.—α. THE ETRUSCAN SEERS.—We have not yet mentioned the general expectation of a Saviour existing about the time of Christ’s birth. The prophecies referring to this subject spring from two sources: the Etruscan books of fate and the Sibylline predictions. The Etruscan seers announced, even during the civil war between Marius and Sulla, that the new age of restoration was about to begin and would embrace eight or ten centuries (cf. Rei agri Scr. p. 258; Jahn, Censor. de die nat., p. 45 adn.; Plut. Sulla vii. p. 456; Suidas s. v. Sullas). About forty years later the priestly prophet Vulcatius explained the comet appearing at Cæsar’s death as a sign of the beginning of the new era; but he is said to have been struck dead while uttering the prediction for thus betraying the secret of the gods (Serv. ad Virg. Ecl. ix. 47). The restorer of the golden age was to be a son of Zeus, or rather of Apollo, and of a mortal mother; according to others it was Apollo himself. A few months before the birth of Augustus there happened a portent in Rome which signified, according to the Etruscan interpreters, that nature was about to give forth a future king of Rome. The frightened senate gave orders that no child born in that year should be allowed to live, and it was only by the endeavors of those whose wives were then pregnant that the decree was not entered into the archives, and thus did not obtain the force of law (Sueton., Octav. c. 94). Nigidius Figulus, who knew the Etruscan books of fate better than any one else understood them, predicted when Augustus’ father came too late into the Senate on account of the confinement of his wife, that the Lord of the universe had been born. Hence, Augustus assumed the character of the prince of peace and of a son of Apollo; report had it that his mother had conceived him by touching a dragon in the temple of Apollo (Sueton., l. c.). On coins he called himself the Saviour of the world, “salus generis humani,” and had himself represented as Apollo (cf. Patinus, Notæ in August. p. 24 and Notæ in Galb. p. 52; Suetonius, ex recens. Graevii, etc., Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1703). Hence Anchises too, when predicting the future to Æneas, points to Augustus as a son of God, who shall restore the golden rule of Saturn and subdue the whole world; his advent was even then predicted by the oracles of the Caspian commonwealths and at the mouth of the Nile (Virg., Æneis vi. 792 ff.).

β. THE SIBYLLINE SOURCES.—Nor is it only the Etruscan seers that predicted the Messias; the Sibylline books are even more pronounced in this regard than the Etruscan books of fate. At Cæsar’s time the Sibylline announcement that a king would bring safety to the Roman people frightened all the republican citizens of Rome (Cicero, de devin. ii. 54; cf. Epist. l. i. 1). Virgil’s fourth Eclogue has been considered as a Messianic prophecy even by the Fathers of the Church (cf. Augustin., de civ. Dei, x. 27; ep. 155). We need not repeat that the poet himself bases his prediction on the Sibylline prophecies. At present we have only a Jewish-Christian edition of these predictions, which is undoubtedly much interpolated and mutilated. The true Sibylline prophecies were destroyed by the burning of the capitol; but about 77 B.C. they were again carefully collected, so that Virgil may well refer to the original text. Even Horace (Carm. 1, od. 2) and Lactantius (Instit. l. vii. c. 18 and 24) seems to paraphrase certain portions of the same predictions. The Sibylline prophecies were so much circulated at the time of Augustus that he found it necessary to have all private copies collected and burnt (Sueton., Octav. c. 31). The same process was repeated under the reign of Tiberius (cf. Hartung, “Rel. der Römer,” Th. 1, p. 134).

γ. DESPAIR AT NON-FULFILMENT.—And when the general expectation of the pagan world seemed not to be fulfilled, a kind of universal despair took the place of the Messianic hope. The predictions concerning the end of the world, which too were contained in the Sibylline books, began to occupy men’s minds, and the philosophic writers began to consider the way and manner in which that destruction would take place. Such considerations we find in Seneca (Quæst. Nat. l. iii sub fin.), Pliny (Hist. Nat. vii. 16), the younger Pliny (Sec. Epist. l. vi. 20), Dio Cassius (cf. Sepp, “Leben Jesu,” Bd. i. p. 331), and even in the works of Lactantius, who relates the opinions of what he calls the worldly prophets (Instit. vii. 14).

δ. ORIGIN OF MESSIANIC PROPHECY.—If it be asked whence these Messianic predictions could have originated among the pagan nations of the ancient world, the answer may be reduced to three or four heads: 1. On the only true supposition that all men descend from Adam, the pagan Messianic ideas may be remnants of a primeval revelation. And should one consider this source insufficient to account for the numberless recollections that are left to the heathen nations, one might 2. admit that God granted from time to time a more than ordinary foresight to the pagan predictors of the future, or 3. appeal to the intercourse between the Jews and the various nations, or at least to the spread of the Jewish prophetic literature among the literary men of the ancient world. To say that the agreement of the various national Messianic hopes is due to chance is surely a most unscientific way of explaining an established historical fact.

o. The Hebrews.—α. TO SOLOMON.—Coming now to the spread of Messianic prophecy among the Hebrews, we find Messianic predictions in the shape of promise and threatening in the Book of Genesis. Immediately upon the fall, hopes of recovery and salvation are held out; but the manner in which this salvation is to be effected is left altogether indefinite. All that is at first declared is that it shall come through a child of woman (Gen. 3:15). By degrees the area is limited: it is to come through the family of Sem (Gen. 9:26), through the family of Abraham (Gen. 12:3), of Isaac (Gen. 22:18), of Jacob (Gen. 28:14), of Juda (Gen. 49:10). Balaam seems to say that it will be brought by a warlike Israelite king (Num. 24:17), Jacob by a peaceful ruler (Gen. 49:10), Moses by a prophet like himself, i.e., a revealer of a new religious dispensation (Deut. 18:15). Nathan’s announcement determines further that the salvation is to come through the house of David (2 Kings 7:16), and through a descendant of David, who himself shall be king. This promise is developed by David in the Messianic Psalms. Pss. 17 (18) and 60 (61) are based on the promise communicated by Nathan, and do not exceed the announcement of that prophet. The same may be said of Ps. 88 (89), which was composed by a later writer. Pss. 2 and 109 (110) rest upon the same promise, but add new features to it. The son of David is to be the son of God (2:7), the anointed of the Lord (2:2), not only the king of Sion (2:6; 109:1), but the inheritor and the Lord of the whole earth (2:8; 109:6); and besides this, a priest forever after the order of Melchisedech (109:4). At the same time he is, as typified by his progenitor, to be full of sorrows and suffering [(Pss. 21, (22), 70 (71), 101 (102), 108 (109)] brought down to the grave, yet raised to life without corruption [Ps. 15 (16)]. In Pss. 66 (65) and 71 (72) the sons of core and Solomon describe his peaceful reign.

β. CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY.—The following table exhibits a chronological summary of the Messianic prophecies as they are represented by Vigouroux (Manuel Biblique, ii. p. 472):

              I.              PERIOD: ADAM.

1.              Divine promise given to Adam or Protevangel (Gen. 3:1–15).

              II.              PERIOD: PATRIARCHAL PERIOD.

2.              Prophecy of Noe: blessing of Sem (Gen. 9:18–27).

3.              Third Prophecy: Promises given to the Patriarchs:

A.              To Abraham:

a.              First promise (Gen. 12:1–7).

b.              Repetition of the same (Gen. 13:14–17; 17:1–9).

c.              Confirmation of the same (Gen. 18:17–19).

d.              Repeated confirmation (Gen. 22:16–18).

B.              To Isaac: Repetition of the promise (Gen. 26:1–5).

C.              To Jacob: Repetition of the promise (Gen. 28:10–15; cf. 35:11, 12).

4.              Fourth Prophecy: Jacob’s blessing (Gen. 49:8–12).

              III.              PERIOD: MOSES.

5.              Fifth Prophecy: Balaam’s prediction (Num. 24:17).

6.              Sixth Prophecy: Moses prophesies (Deut. 18:15–19).

              I.              Prophecies contained in the historical books:

1.              Canticle of Anna (1 Kings 2:10).

2.              Davidic promises (2 Kings 7:8–16; cf. 3 Kings 11:29–39).

              II.              Prophecies contained in the Psalms:

1.              The glorious Messias (Pss. 2, 44, 71, 109).

2.              The suffering Messias (Pss. 15, 21, 39, 40, 68).

              III.              Prophecies among the Gentiles (Job 19:21, 27).

              1.              Joel 2:28–32.

                            8.              Jeremias 2:21; 3:1–19; 11:19; 23:1–8; 31; 33.

 

              2.              Jonas (as type) 2:1.

                            9.              Baruch 3:24–37.

 

              3.              Amos 9:11.

                            10.              Ezechiel 11:14–21; 17:22–24; 34:20–31; 36:16–32; 37.

 

              4.              Osee 1–3; 6; 11:1; 13.

                            11.              Daniel 2; 7; 9:21–27.

 

              5.              Micheas 4–5.

                            12.              Aggeus 2:1–10.

 

              6.              Isaias 2–4; 5; 6; 7–9; 11; 12; 28; 29:14; 33:18; 35; 40:1–11; 40:1–9; 49; 50; 52; 53; 54, 55; 59; 60; 61; 63:1–6; 65; 66.

                            13.              Zacharias 2:8–13; 3; 6:9–15; 9; 12–14.

 

              7.              Nahum 1:15.

                            14.              Malachias 1:10, 11; 3:1–6; 4:5, 6.

 

Appendix: Books immediately preceding the advent of Christ: 1 Mach. 4:46; 14:41; Wisd. 2:11–20.

γ. FROM SOLOMON TO EZECHIAS.—Between Solomon and Ezechias intervened some two hundred years, during which the voice of prophecy was silent. The Messianic conception entertained at this time by the Jews may have been that of a king of the royal house of David, who should arise and gather under his peaceful sceptre both his own people and the Gentile nations. Sufficient allusion to his prophetical and priestly offices had been made to create thoughtful consideration; but as yet there was no clear delineation of these Messianic characteristics. It was reserved for the prophets to bring out these features more distinctly.

δ. THE PROPHETS.—The seventeen prophets may be divided into four groups: 1. The prophets of the Northern Kingdom, 896–722 B.C. (641): Osee, Amos, Joel, Jonas; 2. The prophets of the Southern Kingdom, 889–588 B.C.: Isaias, Jeremias, Baruch, Abdias, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias; 3. The prophets of the Captivity, 594–536 B.C.: Ezechiel and Daniel; 4. The prophets of the Return, 530–424 B.C.: Aggeus, Zacharias, Malachias. In this great period of prophecy there is no longer any chronological development of Messianic prophecy, as in the earlier period, previous to Solomon. Each prophet adds a feature, more or less clear. Combine the features, and we have a portrait. But it does no longer grow gradually and perceptibly under the hands of the several artists. Here then the task of tracing the chronological progress of the Messianic revelation comes to an end: its culminating point may be seen in the prophecy of Is. 52:13–15 and 53. We here read of the Servant of God, lowly and despised, full of grief and suffering, oppressed, condemned as a malefactor, and put to death. But his sufferings are not for his own sake, for he had never been guilty of fraud or violence: they are spontaneously undergone, patiently borne, and vicarious in their nature; by God’s special appointment they have an atoning, reconciling, and justifying efficacy. The result of his sacrificial offering is to be his exaltation and triumph. By the path of humiliation and expiatory suffering he is to reach the state of glory foreshown by David and Solomon. The prophetic character of the Messias is described by Isaias in other parts of his book, as the atoning work is predicted in chapters 52 and 53.

ε. RESULT.—By the time of Ezechias, therefore,—for the theory of a Deutero-Isaias living in the days of the Captivity has never been satisfactorily established,—the portrait of the God-man, at once King, Priest, Prophet, and Redeemer, had been drawn in all its essential features. The contemporary and later prophets added certain particulars and details (cf. Mich. 5:2; Dan. 7:9; Zach. 6:13; Mal. 4:2), and then the conception was left to await its realization after an interval of some four hundred years from the date of the last Hebrew prophet.

ζ. DIVISION OF PROPHETICAL BOOKS.—The Jews divide the prophetical books into two classes, one of which contains the prophetical historical writings, the other the prophetical predictive ones. The first class embraces the books of Josue, Judges, I., II., III., IV. Kings; the later prophets, who constitute the second class, are divided into the Greater and the Lesser Prophets. Isaias, Jeremias, and Ezechiel are the Greater Prophets; Daniel, who is by us reckoned as a Greater Prophet, stands in the Hebrew text between Esther and Esdras. This position is owing to the exceptional character of his office (Smith, “Diction. of Bible,” under Baruch; Hengstenberg, “Christology,” ii.; Delitzsch, “Messian. Prophecy,” etc.).

η. CHRONOLOGY OF THE PROPHETS.—Authorities do not agree concerning the chronological order of the prophets. A few probable chronological arrangements are exhibited in the following table:

 

              LXX.

             

             

             

             

             

 

Hebr. Text.

              Version.

              De Wette.

              Keil.

              Stanley.

              Calmet.

              Period

 

              1.              Osee.

              Osee.

              Joel.

              Abdias.

              Joel.

              Osee.

              c. 800.

 

              2.              Joel.

              Amos.

              Jonas.

              Joel.

              Jonas.

              Amos.

             

 

              3.              Amos.

              Micheas.

              Amos.

              Jonas.

              Osee.

              Isaias.

              c. 790.

 

              4.              Abdias.

              Joel.

              Osee.

              Amos.

              Amos.

              Jonas.

              c. 785

 

              5.              Jonas.

              Abdias.

              Micheas.

              Osee.

              Isaias.

              Micheas.

              c. 725.

 

              6.              Micheas.

              Jonas.

              Nahum.

              Micheas.

              Micheas.

              Nahum.

              c. 710.

 

              7.              Nahum.

              Nahum.

              Sophonias.

              Nahum.

              Nahum.

              Jeremias.

              c. 640.

 

              8.              Habacuc.

              Habacuc.

              Habacuc.

              Habacuc.

              Zacharias.

              Baruch.

              c. 605.

 

              9.              Sophonias.

              Sophonias.

              Abdias.

              Sophonias.

              Sophonias.

              Sophonias.

              c. 570.

 

              10.              Aggeus.

              Aggeus.

              Aggeus.

              Aggeus.

              Habacuc.

              Joel.

              c. 520.

 

              11.              Zacharias.

              Zacharias.

              Zacharias.

              Zacharias.

              Abdias.

              Daniel.

             

 

              12.              Malachias.

              Malachias.

              Malachias.

              Malachias.

              Jeremias.

              Ezechiel.

              c. 440.

 

              13.              (The Greater Prophets are not in these lists.)

              Ezechiel.

              Habacuc.

             

 

              14.             

             

             

             

              Isaias.

              Abdias.

             

 

              15.             

             

             

             

              Daniel.

              Aggeus.

             

 

              16.             

             

             

             

              Aggeus.

              Zacharias.

             

 

              17.             

             

             

             

              Zacharias.

              Malachias.

             

 

              18.             

             

             

             

              Malachias.

             

             

 

ϑ. OTHER PROPHETS.—It must not, however, be imagined that the seventeen prophets enumerated were the only persons in the Old Testament who were endowed with the prophetic gift. According to St. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. i. 21, M. 8, 869), there lived before the birth of Jesus Christ thirty-five prophets, including the five pre-Mosaic ones: Adam, Noe, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and five prophetesses: Sara, Rebecca, Mary the sister of Moses, Debbora, and Holda. The Jews themselves claim to have had forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses (Seder Olam 21; cf. Bartolocci, Biblioth. Rabb. iii. p. 457; Calmet. Prol. in Prophet. 2); St. Epiphanius (Fragm.; cf. Coteler, Not. in Canon. Apost. iv. 6) maintains that up to the time of Agabus (Acts 11:28) there existed seventy-three prophets, and between Sara and the Blessed Virgin he enumerates ten prophetesses. Since it seems to be certain that from the time of Moses down to the time of Malachias there never failed a prophet in Israel to explain the Law to the people, and to prepare it for the coming Christian dispensation, we must hold with Cornely (Introduct., II. ii. p. 280) that the true number of prophets is known to God alone. Only a few names are mentioned in Scripture besides the seventeen commonly enumerated, who are said to have had the prophetic spirit. Among these are: Gad and Nathan, Ahias and Addo, Semeias and Azarias, Hanani and Jehu, Jahaziel and Eliezer, Elias and Eliseus, Oded and Urias, Holda and Debbora. The majority of the prophetic names have not come down to us, either because their bearers never wrote down their inspired predictions, or they played too insignificant a part in the history of the theocratic kingdom (cf. 1 Kings 3:1 ff.; 10:5 ff.; 19:20 ff.; 22:5 ff.; 2 Kings 24:11 ff.; 7:1 ff.; 12:1 ff; 3 Kings 1:8 ff.; 11:29 ff.; 1 Par. 29:29; 2 Par. 9:29; 3 Kings 12:15; 14:1; 13:1 ff.; 12:22 ff.; 16:1 ff.; 17:1–4; 2 Par. 15:1; etc.).








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