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

1. THE PROPHETIC WRITINGS ARE INSPIRED.—The first characteristic of the prophetic writings is their inspiration. Not to adduce arguments that may be derived from the nature of prophecy, the prophets themselves insist on the fact that they were inspired by God or commanded to write down their divinely received communications. Thus Isaias (8:1) tells us: “And the Lord said to me: Take thee a great book, and write in it with a man’s pen.” Again (30:8), the prophet is bidden: “Now therefore go in and write for them upon box, and note it diligently in a book, and it shall be in the latter days for a testimony for ever.” Jeremias too received divine commands to write down his divinely inspired intuitions. His own testimony (30:2) is unmistakable: “Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: Write thee all the words that I have spoken to thee in a book.” And a few chapters later on the divine order is still more emphatic (36:2): “Take thee a role of a book, and thou shalt write in it all the words that I have spoken to thee against Israel and Juda, and against all the nations: from the day that I spoke to thee, from the days of Josias even to this day.” Similar words are met in Habacuc (2:2): “And the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain upon tables: that he that readeth it may run over it.” And though we have not the explicit words of God in the case of all the particular prophetic books, testifying to their divine inspiration, our statement is nevertheless true beyond all reasonable doubt. Or did not the prophets fulfil part of their supernatural calling by writing? But they could fulfil no part of their office without the assistance of the divine inspiration. And again, if God had not inspired the whole book of Isaias, e.g., how could the prophet call it the book of the Lord? (cf. Is. 34:16; Ezech. 3:25.) It is for this very reason too that the Fathers compare the prophets to musical instruments which the Holy Ghost plays upon, or to a most faithful mirror representing its object with the greatest minuteness (St. Athenagoras, Legat. pro. Christ., 9. M. 6, 908; St. Justin, Cohort, ad gent. 8. M. 6, 256; St. Basil, In Is. prooem. 3. M. 30, 122).

2. SPOKEN AND MERELY WRITTEN PROPHECIES.—It must, however, be noted that not all the single parts of the prophetic books have been written in the same manner: some were delivered orally previous to their writing; others were put in writing without having ever been spoken in public. To this second class belong all those portions in which there is no trace of an oratorical form, such as the book of Jonas, Is. 36–39, Jer. 36–43, 52, Dan. 1–6, all the introductory and explanatory remarks which accompany the oratorical portions, letters and all matter of a similar character, e.g., Jer. 29, Bar. 6, Is. 6, Dan. 7 ff.; all those parts in which we have indeed the oratorical form, but whose subject-matter is entirely unfit for public delivery, such as the second part of Isaias 40–66, the last chapters of Ezechiel, 40–48, the prophecies concerning the future fate of the gentile nations: Nah., Is. 13 ff., Jer. 46 ff.

3. ABBREVIATED PROPHECIES.—Those parts of the prophetic books which repeat speeches previously delivered in public do not always adhere to the letter of the matter delivered. Jeremias, e. g., testifies that he received the command to write all that the Lord had spoken to him from the days of the king Josias even to this day (36:2); still, it is quite clear that he cannot have literally committed to writing all his public instructions delivered during the space of twenty-three years. The same compendious manner of writing is proved by Knabenbauer (Comm. in Pro. Minor. i:20) to exist in the prophet Osee. The very title of the book shows this, signifying as it does the length of time during which the events recorded by the prophet took place. Then the concise and heavy style of the book renders it almost evident that its contents cannot have been literally delivered to the people, who would not have been able to understand such concise language. It seems certain that all the Minor Prophets followed this manner of writing, expressing their previous discourses in the most concise and orderly manner. That Jeremias wrote a compendium, we have already pointed out; Isaias (2–5) furnishes another instance of a Greater Prophet presenting a summary of his prophetic activity during a definite period of time.

4. TITLES OF THE PROPHETIC BOOKS.—It follows from what has been hitherto said that the prophetic style is more polished and ornate than is usually found in speeches delivered ex tempore. But from the fact that the spoken words of the prophets have undergone such an emendation of style and language, it does not follow that we must, therefore, assume the existence of one or more so-called “redactors.” On the other hand, not all the prophetic books have been composed with the same care. Jonas among the older prophets, and Ezechiel, Daniel, Aggeus, and Zacharias among the later ones, begin their books without any title, after the manner of the historians. In the case of Jonas and Daniel such a proceeding was to be expected on account of the historical character of their writings. The other three prophets omitted the title perhaps to indicate that the conditions of their times differed from those of their predecessors in the prophetic office. Isaias and Abdias call their books “Vision,” Jeremias, Osee, Joel, Micheas, and Sophonias call them “the Word of the Lord;” Amos in a manner joins the preceding two titles: “the words of Amos … which he saw;” Nahum, Habacuc, and Malachias express in the title of their books both their divine origin and their characteristic subject-matter: “the burden of Ninive, the book of the vision of Nahum;” “the burden that Habacuc the prophet saw,” the burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by the hand of Malachias.”

5. THE PROPHETIC STYLE.—Since the prophets were sent to confirm by means of divinely inspired sermons and exhortations the pious in the law and to convert the sinners, thus preparing all for the new Christian dispensation, it is to be expected that they should write in an oratorical style. And the near affinity existing between the oratorical and the poetical style, as even Cicero has observed (De orat. 16), renders it antecedently probable that the prophetic style should be an approach to the style of the poet. The difference between the mere prose style and the prophetic style properly so called is perhaps best illustrated from the writings of the prophets themselves, i.e., by a comparison between those passages in which they write as mere historians and those others in which they address the people with exhortations, threats, or promises (cf. Is. 36–39; Jer. 26; 36–41, etc.). Poetical metaphors, allegories, parables, and even the parallelism of members may be found throughout the prophetic writings. This same peculiarity has been observed by Ribera (Comm. in 1. duodecim proph. in Nahum Præf.), by C. Vitringa (Comm. in Is. Prolegom. Leovardiæ, 1714, p. 8), and has been perhaps exaggerated by Lowth (Præl. 18 ff.).

6. OBSCURITY OF THE PROPHETS.—Another and most important characteristic of the prophetic style is its obscurity. There can hardly be any reasonable doubt about the fact of the obscurity. Nearly all the patristic as well as the more recent writers who have made a special study of the prophecies have complained of their exegetic difficulties. St. Chrysostom (Hom. de obscurit. Proph. M. 56, 163), Theophylactus (In Os. prooem. M. 126, 569), St. Cyril of Alexandria (In Is. xxvii. 13. M. 70, 609), St. Jerome (In Ezech. xlv. 10; in Os. xiv. 10; in Is, xxi. 3; in Jer. ix. 14; xxxi. 25; in Nah. ii. 1; in Jer. xxi. 1; xxv. 1; M. 25, 470; 25, 992; 24, 196; 24, 767; 24, 916; 25,1303; 24, 839; 24, 865), Cornelius a Lapide (In Is. Proleg.), Calmet (Proleg. in Proph.), Patrizi (De interpretatione oraculorum ad Christum pertinentium prolegomenon, Romæ, 1853, pp. 1 ff.), Reinke (Beiträge, ii. pp. 33–92), Vigouroux (Manuel biblique, pp. 466 ff.), Zschokke (Theologie der Propheten, pp. 387–394), Hengstenberg (Christologie, 2d ed., Berlin, 1856, iii. 2, pp. 180 ff.), are some of the witnesses testifying to the obscurity of the prophetic writings. But we have still more reliable witnesses than the commentators in the prophets themselves. In the very passage describing Isaias’ prophetic mission we read (Is. 6:9–13): “Go, and thou shalt say to this people: hearing hear, and understand not, and see the vision and know it not.…” And later on (Is. 29:11), when the prophet is describing the people’s future knowledge of the prophetic writings, he says: “And the vision, of all shall be unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which when they shall deliver to one that is learned, they shall say: Read this, and he shall answer: I cannot, for it is sealed.” Jeremias tells his readers that they shall understand the counsel of God in the latter day, i.e., when the prophecies will have been fulfilled (Jer. 23:20; 30:24). Ezechiel too (33:33) points to the time of fulfilment as the period when the prophecies will be properly understood. “And when that which was foretold shall come to pass, for behold it is coming, then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” The prophet Zacharias needs the explanation of an angel in order to understand the prophetic symbols which he has seen (Zach. 1:9; 2:2; 4:4; 5:6, etc.). The same angelic ministry we meet in the writings of Daniel 8:27 and 12:8 ff.; in the latter passage the angel distinctly foretells that the vision will remain closed till the time of its fulfilment.

a. reasons of Obscurity.—The fact of the prophetic obscurity being established, there can be no doubt that many of the prophecies are clearer and more intelligible to us than they were to the Jews in the Old Testament. On the other hand, as appears from the foregoing testimony of the Fathers and the commentators, many of the biblical prophecies are still a mystery for us. These may be reduced to three classes: 1. Several have not yet been fulfilled, and cannot be fully understood till the time of their fulfilment. 2. Others have been fulfilled, but are unintelligible to us, because we are ignorant of ancient history. This class of prophecies has been made much more intelligible through the recent Assyriological and Egyptological studies (cf. Vigouroux, La Bible et les Découvert. modern. iv.; Brunengo, L’impero di Babilonia e di Ninive, Prato, 1885, ii.; Knabenbauer, Comm. in proph. minor., i. pp. 138, 295, 314, 362; ii. pp. 48, 312, etc.; Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., 2d ed. pp., 382–455). 3. A third class of prophecies is obscure either on account of the sublime mysteries of which the predictions treat or by reason of the manner in which they have been proposed by the prophets. This third kind of obscurity deserves a word of explanation.

α. CONFUSION OF TENSES.—There is first of all a confusion of tenses in the prophetic writings: what is future is represented as present or even as past. The reasons for this kind of obscurity are manifold. St. Chrysostom (c. Anom. 7, 5; in illud: Pater si possibile est. 3. M. 48, 764), St. Augustine (In Ps. xliii n. 5. M. 36, 485), and St. Jerome (In Is. v. 25. M. 24, 91) maintain that the prophets use the past or the present tense instead of the future in order to signify that what they predict is as certain as if it had already taken place. But St. Chrysostom (In Gen. i. hom. 10, 4. M. 53, 85) and St. Augustine (In Ps. iv n. 6. M. 36, 75) assign another reason for the change of tenses which seems to be more satisfactory. Since the prophetic revelation was commonly received in visions, they say it is natural that the prophets should tell them as if they were now before their eyes, or as if they had been previously seen. Hence the vivid description of the Virgin conceiving and bringing forth a son, the glad announcement that a child has been born for us, a son has been given to us, hence too the reference to Cyrus as if he were a king of the prophet’s own time (cf. Is. 7:14; 9:6; 44:28 ff.; 40–66; 34:16; Knabenbauer, “Der Prophet Isaias,” p. 455; Reinke, Beiträge, p. 41).

β. FRAGMENTARY CHARACTER OF PREDICTIONS.—In the second place must be noted the fragmentary character of most of the prophetic predictions; for this too has given rise to divers misinterpretations of the Messianic prophecies. Hence it is that the Rabbinic writers have taken occasion to write about a double Messias—one covered with suffering and another celebrated for his power and glory; one the son of Joseph, the other the son of David and Juda (cf. Eisenmenger, “Das entdeckte Judenthum,” ii. pp. 720 ff.). The modern rationalists have, on account of the fragmentary nature of the prophetic writings, seen contradictions between the Messianic hopes as held out in the different prophecies. Joel, e.g., is said to have expected only a Messianic kingdom, while Isaias expects a personal Messias. But St. Paul (1 Cor. 13:9) seems to have anticipated this difficulty when he says: “We know in part, and we prophesy in part.” St. Chrysostom (In Ps. xliv. n. 3. M. 55, 187) sees in this precisely the difference between the Prophet and the Evangelist—that the latter tells us all, while the former gives only a partial communication. St. Thomas (II.a ii.ae q. 171, a. 4) insists on the same solution of the difficulty which springs from the fragmentary character of the prophecies: “The prophets do not know all that can be prophesied, but each one knows something of it, according to his special revelation about this or that particular point.”

γ. THE IDEA OF PROPHECY DOES NOT INVOLVE ABSOLUTE CLEARNESS.—If the unintelligibility of many of the prophecies be urged against us, it must be remembered that the prophet could not predict a future event more clearly than he had been instructed to do. But absolute clearness is not required in prophecy as such. All that is needed in order to have a true prediction is an unmistakable sign or picture of the future event in question. Now a sign or picture need not always represent the object in all its details. Thus even a rude sketch may be said to represent a person or a thing, though the thousand little minutiæ which make up the person’s countenance or give expression to the landscape may be wanting (cf. Jahn-Ackermann, Introductio in V. T. p. 221; Patrizi, De interpretatione orac. messian. Proleg. p. 3). The prophets often give us such a rough sketch of the future event. If they were to do otherwise, two most serious inconveniences would follow. First, human liberty would, at least apparently, be diminished. For if certain historical events, absolutely definite in their particulars, were certainly going to happen, men might be tempted to doubt their own freedom in bringing them about. Or, on the other hand, men would have striven with all their might to render vain the predictions of the prophets. What would not the hard-hearted Jews have done to prevent the passing away of the Synagogue into the hands of the Son? Herod’s rage would have been nothing as compared with their endeavors to slay the Son and his Mother. The second inconvenience flowing from too great clearness of the prophetic predictions would be a lessening of their apologetic value. For in such a case it might always be objected that the fulfilment had been brought about designedly by the persons interested in seeing it established (cf. Patrizi, De interpret, oracul. messianic. Proleg. p. 2; Le Hir, Études bibliques, i. p. 82).

δ. ABSENCE OF CHRONOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE.—One of the greatest sources of prophetic obscurity is the absence of what we may call chronological perspective from many of the prophetic writings. In this respect the predictions of the prophets resemble the pictures of the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, so notably defective in local perspective. The prophets saw the future events as we see the stars in the firmament; they may be millions of miles distant from one another, but to us they appear as almost contiguous. This perplexing confusion in chronology becomes more distressing when the prophet passes from type to anti-type and returns again to the type without indicating in the least his transition. Thus Isaias blends into one the coming of the Messias and the destruction of Babylon (Is. 10, 11); the redemption of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity and the redemption of man from sin (40–66), the complete destruction of Babylon and its first conquest by the Persians (13, 19). The manner in which the type and its anti-type are at times blended into one is thus described by Le Hir (Études bibliques, i. pp. 81 ff.): “Very often there is only one meaning in the prophecies, but an extended one, and the division is only apparent in the particular applications one can make of it. At other times the text sets two objects made after the same pattern before our eyes, and outlines them at the same time. Imagine two palaces of unequal dimensions, but offering nearly the same arrangement of rooms, courts, corridors, etc. The smaller one is nearer to you, and so situated that if it were transparent as crystal your eye would catch with one glance the outlines and the shape of both. If, on the contrary, this transparency were veiled, unequal or intermittent, you would need several combinations to complete in your mind the picture of the larger edifice, but you could not doubt about its existence nor about its principal features. Thus it is with a prophecy having a double object. The nearer object seems at times to vanish in order to let the more important and greater event which occupies the background shine through in all its brilliancy. At other times the nearer outlines are the darker ones, and they partially conceal those behind. But our reason, following the lead of analogy, easily restores to each of the two objects what the eye discovers only confusedly” (cf. Reinke, Beiträge, ii. p. 42; Vigouroux, Manuel biblique, ii. p. 468).

ε. CHRONOLOGICAL ACCURACY IS NOT ALWAYS WANTING.—Still it must not be imagined that the prophetic predictions are always absolutely indistinct in point of chronology. Thus Isaias clearly announces that Ephraim will cease to be a people after sixty-five years (7:8), the glory of Moab will vanish after three years (16:14); Egypt and Ethiopia too have a period of three years assigned them (20:3); the glory of Cedar will be taken away in one year (21:16; cf. 23:15; 29:1; 32:10; 38:5; Jer. 25:12; 27:7; 29:10; 28:16; Ezech. 24:1; 29:11; Dan. 9:25 ff.; Zschokke, l. c., p. 390). Whoever grants God the power of foreseeing the future, need not seek for artificial ways of explaining all such definite predictions. They have not been forged after the event had taken place, nor are they later glosses added to the text; nor, again, have their numbers a merely symbolic meaning. Where we are unable to trace the exact fulfilment according to the letter of the prophecy, we must impute the defect to our ignorance of history, and not to the falsity of the prophetic prediction. In other passages the prophets give no notice at all of the time at which the event foretold will occur. Instances of this we find in Is. 1:24; 2:9 ff.; 3:16 ff., etc. Then again, the chronological determination of the prophetic predictions is vague, so that they differ little from the preceding class. Such is the case in Is. 17:4; 18:7; 19:16; Jer. 3:16; 2:2; 30:8; Ezech. 33:8, etc. But even in those prophecies in which the chronological order of type and anti-type has been blended into one, the Jews could distinguish the former from the latter. As now we can to some extent distinguish in the last prophecies of Jesus what refers to the destruction of Jerusalem from what refers to the end of the world by looking at the history of the former event, so could the Jews compare the historic type with the prophecy, and thus learn which particulars of the prediction referred to the anti-type. In other instances the gap of chronology in the one prophet is filled out by clearer determinations of another. An instance of this we see in Is. 13:22, as compared with Jer. 25:12.

ζ. PROPHETIC IMAGERY.—Since the prophets were mostly illumined by visions, the use of imagery is very frequent in their predictions. For they do not speak of the future in abstract terms, but commonly by means of the same images they themselves had seen. Now such prophetic images are either types or they are symbols. A word must be said of each in order that the obscurity resulting from this manner of speech may be removed.

1. The Typical Sense.—The typical sense of Scripture in general is the meaning the Holy Ghost intends to convey by means of the matter narrated. It is distinct from the literal meaning, because the latter is conveyed by the words themselves, while the former is expressed by the things signified by the words. The typical meaning is also called the spiritual, the mystical, the allegorical. The persons or things that God in his providence has ordained to signify the future events form the foundation of the typical sense. It follows from this that only he who has the free disposition of the future can employ a type in the strict sense of the word. For him alone have the present persons or things that connection with the future which the fœtus, e.g., in the course of its development, has with the fully organized body. The persons and things that God has thus assumed to signify future persons or things are called by St. Paul types, exemplars, shadows, allegories, parables; while the persons or things thus signified are named by St. Peter “anti-types,” though St. Paul gives this name to the former class also (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 10:6; Heb. 8:5; Gal. 4:24; Heb. 9:9; 1 Pet. 3:21; Heb. 9:24). The typical sense of Scripture thus explained is threefold: it either proposes certain dogmas of belief, commonly regarding the future Messias, and then we have the prophetic or allegorical types; or it describes the objects of our hope, especially concerning the future life in heaven, and this is effected by means of anagogic types; or, finally, it shows us what we are bound to do by means of the so-called tropological types (cf. Gal. 4:24; Wisd. 16:17; Apoc. 21:2). It must, however, be noted that there is a marked difference between the typical and the allegorical or spiritual meaning of the Scriptures: the latter terms are used by theological writers of all the interpretations that are not strictly literal, while the first term has its own specific sense. In order to have this specific character, the type must fulfil these three conditions: 1. It must have a proper and absolute historical existence, entirely independent of the anti-type. 2. It should not have a natural and essential reference to its anti-type. 3. God himself must have referred the type to its anti-type by means of a positive ordination. It is beyond all dispute that there are such types in the Scriptures: for proof we may refer to Rom. 5:14; Gal. 4:24; Col. 2:17; Heb. 9:8, 9; Heb. 7; 1:5; John 19:36; Patrizi, p. 119.

2. Allegorical Types.—For the present we are principally concerned about the prophetic or the allegorical types. According to Eusebius (H. E. i. 3. M. 20, 72) the prophetic types of the Old Testament principally refer to the triple dignity of theocratic kingship, Aaronic priesthood, and divinely instituted prophetism. Hence the prophets describe the Messias as the great theocratic king; and since in David, who is the Messias’ father as well as his type, they see a king according to God’s own heart, they describe the Messias as possessing the qualities of David—nay, they call the Messias by David’s own name. In a similar manner the Messias is represented as the great prophet, who is to teach all nations, and as the eminent high-priest who will destroy all sin by offering himself as a victim. The unbloody sacrifice of the New Law is named by the same name as the unbloody sacrifices of the Old (Mal. 1:11). The Messianic kingdom is in the same manner represented by a series of pictures and figures taken from David’s kingship. Jerusalem is the centre of the Messianic kingdom, as it had been the capital of the theocratic reign; the Gentiles who are converted to the Messianic creed are said to flow to Mount Sion (Is. 2; Mich. 5), to be born on Sion (Ps. 86), to find their salvation on Mount Sion and in Jerusalem (Joel 2:32). The enemies of the Messianic kingdom bear the names of the tribes hostile to Jerusalem and the theocratic kingdom. In the New Law there will not be wanting priests and Levites to offer the burnt-offerings and the other sacrifices (Jer. 33:18), the sabbaths will be kept without intermission (Is. 66:23), all the nations will come to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Zach. 14:16).

3. Difference between Symbols and Types.—The prophetic symbols must be carefully distinguished from the prophetic types. They agree in this with the types that they are persons or things assumed to signify something future; but they differ from the types mainly in their want of any historical existence. In themselves they were nothing but images shown to the prophets in order to reveal to them a part of the future. Thus Jeremias (24) saw two basketfuls of grapes, the one good, the other bad, to indicate the different fate that was to befall those that had been transported to Babylon and those that were still remaining in Jerusalem. Amos (8) saw under the figure of a hook which bringeth down the fruit, the approaching desolation of Israel caused by the nations avarice and injustice. Isaias foreshows the shameful transportation of the Egyptians into Babylon by walking naked and barefoot. Jeremias breaks a potter’s vessel, and thus announces the desolation of the Jews occasioned by their sins (Jer. 19; Is. 20). The use of imagery in the prophetic writings is also the reason of the dramatic nature of many prophecies—a characteristic to which St. Jerome (In Nah. ii. 1. M. 25, 1303; in Is. 3:13; 21:3; in Jer. 9:14. M. 24, 68, 196, 767) attributed in great part the obscurity of the predictions. In Isaias (63) the prophet asks, “Who is this that cometh from Edom?” In answer the conqueror himself speaks: “I have trodden the winepress alone.…” And the prophet is in consequence incited to fervent prayer of thanksgiving: I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord.…”

4. How to recognize the Typical Meaning.—It is in great part owing to the neglect of the prophetic types and symbols that the Jews did not recognize in Jesus the Messias. Without considering that the kingdom of David is only a type of the Messianic kingdom, they expected a literal fulfilment in the person of the Messias of all that had been said concerning his royal dignity. And if modern rationalists point out Messianic prophecies that have not been fulfilled in Jesus, they are generally taken from the typical predictions treating of the Messias as the great king, the infallible prophet, and the universal high-priest. In order, however, to answer these objections we must briefly point out a few rules by which we may be enabled to distinguish between the typical, the symbolic, and the literal predictions.

a. If a prophecy has been evidently fulfilled, the event must show whether it was intended in a typical or a literal sense. Before the advent of Christ it was doubtful whether Ps. 21:3–13; 109:7 were to be understood literally or typically. But after Christ’s crucifixion all doubt has vanished.

b. Other prophecies are rendered clear by a comparison with parallel predictions. Thus the statement that the Messias is to be a mighty warrior is explained by the other that he is the Prince of peace (Is. 9:6; 11:2–4); the typical character of the continued existence of the Levitical priesthood and of the Old Testament sacrifices is evident from the literal predictions announcing the end of priesthood and sacrifices alike (Jer. 33:18; Is. 56:6; 60:7; Ezech. 40–48; Jer. 3:16; 31:31; Mal. 1:11, etc.); that the Messias is not David in a literal sense is plain from those passages in which he is called the son of David.

c. If the literal acceptation of a prophecy would destroy the very nature of the person or thing of which there is question, we must seek for a typical or a symbolic meaning (cf. Corn. a Lap., Proleg. in Prophet. Can. Forer. in Is. 45:8). St. Jerome (in Is. xi. 6. M. 24, 150 f.), writing against the Christian millenarians (St., Justin, c. Tryph. 81. M. 6, 668; St. Iren., c. hær. v. 33, M. 7, 1214; Lactant., Instit. vii. 24. M. 6, 809; cf. Hengstenberg, Christol. ii. pp. 138 ff.; Delitzsch, “Isaias,” pp. 188 f.; Nägelsbach, “Isaias,” p. 148), ridicules all those who expect a literal fulfilment of Is. 11:6: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb …” Cornely is of opinion that the same must be said of the literal fulfilment of Is. 2:2; Mich. 5:2 against all those who believe that at the end of time Mount Sion will be placed on the top of all other mountains, or that all other mountains will disappear, Sion alone remaining (cf. Cornely, Intr. II. ii. p. 304; Hofmann, “Erfüllung und Weissagung,” ii. p. 217; Delitzsch, “Isaias,” p. 61; Nägelsbach, “Isaias,” p. 148).

d. Finally, all those predictions that allude to facts of the Jewish history must be understood in a typical rather than in a literal sense. Thus we read: “If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every place of Mount Sion, and where he is called upon, a cloud by day, and a smoke and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night” (Is. 4:4, 5). At times the typical nature of the prophetic prediction is indicated in the words of the text itself (cf. Zach. 10:11, Hebrew text), and thus all difficulty is removed (cf. Reinke, Beiträge, ii. pp. 50–59; Hengstenberg, Christologie, iii. 2, 203 ff.; Cornely, Intr. II. ii. pp. 288 ff.; Meignan, “Les Prophèties dans les deux premiers ch. des Rois,” pp. 12–75).

5. The Figurative Sense.—What has been said about the interpretation of the typical and the symbolic sense of the prophetic predictions applies in a measure also to the figurative or the metaphorical sense. Since the style of the prophets is to some extent poetical, as has been seen above, in the interpretation allowance must be made for figures of speech and poetic ornament of language. It may show great devotion to inquire why Jeremias (24:1) saw two baskets of grapes rather than of any other fruit, or why Isaias in his description of the Prince of peace (11:6) mentions the sheep and the wolf rather than other animals; but it is very uncertain whether we shall ever be able to arrive at any certainty in these minutiæ (cf. Knab-enbauer, “Der Prophet Isaias,” pp. 170 f.; 180). It seems much preferable to ascribe them to the poetic language of the prophet.








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