Book 4 - Chapter 6: Of the Types - by Herman WitsiusThe Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man by Herman Witsius
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Herman Witsius (1636-1708)
Arguably known for the best work on Covenant Theology in print (at least in the top 5).
Herman Witsius (1636-1708) was Professor of Divinity in the Universities of Franeker, Utrecht, and Leyden. A brilliant and devout student, he was fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew by the age of fifteen, when he entered the University of Utrecht. He was ordained at twenty-one and served in several pastorates, filling both the pulpit and the academic chair over the course of his life.
This, his magnum opus, is a reflection of some of the most fruitful and mature thinking on federal theology during the seventeenth century, and still holds a preeminent place in our own day.
Chapter VI: Of the Types
I. SUCH is the inexhaustible copiousness of the Holy Scriptures, that not only the words are significative of things, but even the things, which are first signified by the words, do likewise represent other things, which they were appointed to prefigure long before they happened. Christ principally, and Paul have informed us of this, when they apply most of the things which happened under the old dispensation to the Messiah, and to the economy of a better testament. And indeed, if the old institutions of the Deity had not their mystical significations, they might deservedly be accounted childish, ludicrous, and unworthy of God. These are things which not only Christians require to be granted to them, but also were acknowledged by the ancient Jews, who besides פשוט a literal or plain meaning, sought also מדרש a mystical sense in Scripture. And it was a constant and received opinion among them, that all things were mystical in the law of Moses, and therefore may be mystically explained.
II. Their mystical signification points to Christ, in his person, states, offices, and works, and in his spiritual body, the church; for “Christ is the end of the law,” Rom. 10:4. the body, or substance of the ceremonial shadows, Col. 2:17; and the centre of the prophecies, Acts 10:43. The doctrine of Christ is “the key of knowledge,” Luke 11:42. without which nothing can be savingly understood in Mosesand the prophets. As is apparent in the Pharisees of old, and the Socinians in our day; who being tainted with false notions concerning the Messiah, pollute, for the most part, all the testimonies concerning the common salvation, by their impure interpretations. It was very well said by the ingenious Bisterfeld, that “The Lord Jesus Christ was the spirit and soul of the whole, both of the Old and New Testament,” de Scripturæ eminentia, § 40.
III. It is an unquestionable truth, that the Old Testament believers, especially those who were favoured with a fuller measure of the Spirit, applied themselves with peculiar diligence to find out the mystical meaning of the types; in which study they were very much assisted by the prophets and divinely inspired priests. Thus David declared, that “he had seen God in the sanctuary,” Psa. 63:2 that is, that he had, by the figures of the Levitical service, searched by holy meditation into the very truth of the things. This made believers so cheerful in the acts of external worship, not that they were very much taken with those minute corporeal performances, but that “they beheld in them the beauty of Jehovah, and inquired in his temple,” Psa. 27:4. They were not put off with mere shadows, but were “satisfied with the goodness of God’s house, even of his holy temple;” and though it was but darkly, yet they heard him “speaking terrible things in righteousness,” Psa. 65:4, 5.
IV. Though Christ and the apostles, in order to illustrate and prove the truth of the gospel, argued from the types by divine inspiration and the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit; yet they did not lay the stress of those arguments on their own bare authority, because they were inspired (for that authority was at times called in question, and upon supposing it, all reasoning would almost seem superfluous), but on the evident demonstration of the truth to the conscience, which plainly discovered to an attentive person that it was worthy of God to represent such a truth by such types.
V. The strength of those arguments rests on this supposition, that God was pleased to give the church at that time, in the memorable persons of the Old Testament, to whom some remarkable things happened in an extraordinary way, and in the whole of his instituted worship, a beautiful picture, and becoming the accuracy of so great an artist, in which Christ with his mystical body might be delineated. The apostle, when he argued with the Jews in his Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews, lays this down as a fundamental truth; and having laid that foundation, directly proceeds, with a kind of divine skill, to the application of the types. For, when there is any thing in the antitype resembling the type, it is justly affirmed, that God, who knows all things from the beginning, ordered the type in such a manner that it might signify beforehand that truth which was in the antitype. Unless we would rather maintain, that the likeness of an ingenious picture to the original, was rather the effect of chance than of the intention of the artist; which is contrary to all reason.
VI. It is not only lawful, but the incumbent duty of teachers, even though not inspired, to tread in this very path, and to explain in the same method the types of the Old Testament. For we must not think, either that an infallible authority is necessary to explain the types, or that all the types of the Old Testament are explained in the New. Not the former, for why should an infallible authority be required in interpreting the types, rather than in interpreting the prophecies and other dark expressions in Scripture? Since it is manifest, that it was the will of God to instruct the church by types; and the explication of the types is now oftentimes far more easy, on account of the distinct knowledge of the antitype, than of many prophecies, which it is far more difficult to determine to what they refer. Not the latter, for why should we believe, that all the types of Christ were explained rather than all the prophecies concerning him? Especially as the apostle affirms, that he has not spoken particularly of them all, Heb. 9:5. We are therefore to maintain, that the inspired teachers have pointed out to us the way and method in which we ought to proceed in explaining the types, and given us a key to open those mysteries which are contained in them.
VII. Now we shall proceed in that way with safety. 1. When we accurately consider the original, even the Lord Jesus, who is now presented to our view without a veil, and from thence turn the eye of our mind to the type; then the greater, the fuller, and the more especial agreement we observe and discover between both, the greater glory we ascribe to the wisdom and truth of God, who made the type so exactly to correspond with him who is figured by it. For when we read the Scriptures we are to judge beforehand, that then only we understand them, when we discover in them a wisdom unsearchable and worthy of God.
VIII. In every thing we are to proceed with caution, “fear and trembling,” lest we devise mysteries out of our own imagination, and obstinately pervert to one purpose what belongs to another. We do injury to God and his Word, when we would have it owing to our fanciful inventions, that God seems to have spoke or done any thing wisely. However, though there is a measure in all things, I should think the mistake of him more tolerable who imagines he sees Christ, where perhaps he does not reveal himself, than of another who refuses to see him, where he presents himself with sufficient evidence. For the one is an indication of a soul that loves Christ, and is very much taken up with the thoughts of him, when the very least, or perhaps no occasion is given him; the other argues an indolent soul, and slow to believe—such as discovers itself in the Socinians and in Grotius, in other respects a great man, who generally so pervert very many passages, that they make them appear to have no manner of regard to Christ.
IX. Whenever it is evident that any person or thing is a type of Christ, we are not to imagine that every circumstance in that person or thing is typical. For it may be that, in the same context, some things are peculiar only to the type, others only to the antitype, and others common to both; for instance, 2 Sam. 7. Solomon is proposed as a type of Christ. But it agrees to Solomon and not to Christ, “if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men,” ver. 14. To Christ, and not to Solomon in its full signification, “I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever,” ver. 13. For the kingdom of Israel became extinct in the posterity of Solomon by the Babylonish captivity. And it is applicable to both, “he shall build an house for my name,” ib. We may consider other instances in the same manner.
X. Sometimes it is sufficient that there be a very faint resemblance in the type of something most excellent, in a most eminent manner, in the antitype. Nay, the more noble and divine the thing signified is, the resemblance of it must of necessity be the more slender; because of the immense distance there is between Christ and the poor creature. For example: there being no mention in Scripture either of the beginning of the days or the end of Melchizedec’s life, that was sufficient to prefigure the eternity of Christ. Heb. 7:3. And this, once for all, should be a fixed principle in our minds, that, when the same things are asserted both of the type and the antitype, they are, in more excellent manner, true in the latter than in the former, so that the truth of the thing, in its full import, is only to be found in the antitype. Thus we are to explain that of the apostle, Heb. 1:5. “To which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son—I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son;” when it is evident the same was said concerning Solomon, but in such a diminutive sense with respect to Solomon, that when his whole dignity, honour, and grandeur are compared with Christ, it is plainly of no avail; but it is true in Christ in such a large and extensive sense, that his dignity and honour exceeds that of all the angels, and cannot be communicated to any creature.
XI. Finally, the learned have likewise observed, that a certain variation sometimes takes place with regard to the signification of the type, insomuch that in some respects it may be applied to Christ, and in others to the church, which is his mystical body. Let Abraham’s offering up his son be an instance of this. Isaac, in carrying the wood, in being bound by his father, and ready to suffer death in obedience to his farther and to God, was a type of Christ, in his carrying his cross, being bound, and in obeying his Father even unto death. But when the ram was offered in the room of Isaac, the figure was changed, and that ram represented Christ, and Isaac the church, which is delivered from death by the death of Christ. These things, I thought proper to premise in general, because they cast light on the whole of typical divinity, and will be of use to us in the subsequent observations.
XII. Moreover, the types are not all of one kind, but may very properly be divided into three classes: so that some are natural: some historical, and others legal. We shall, out of a great number, give a few instances of each of these, according to the three periods of time formerly mentioned.
XIII. By a natural type, I understand the creation of this visible world, as Moses has given us the history of it, which was a type of the new creation of believers and of the constitution of the church. Hence the new man is said to be after God created, Eph. 4:24, and believers are said to be Θεου ποίημα, κτισθέντες εν Χριστῶ Ιἠσου, God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph. 2:10. And the whole mystical body of Christ is called a new creature or creation, 2 Cor. 5:17. Nay the whole method of our restoration is expressed in phrases and similitudes, for the most part, taken from the first creation. Though Adam in his innocent state could have no thoughts of that, nothing having been made known to him, either concerning his fall or his recovery; yet God so wisely ordered his works in the first creation, that they might be, as it were, an exemplar of the second; and it is manifest to any attentive person, that they are so, which will evidently appear, by particularly comparing the one with the other.
XIV. The first creation of the world was out of nothing; so nothing was prepared for the second, no good, no virtue, no previous dispositions in the subject: yea, something indeed was in being, which had no place in the old, but that was only rebellion and enmity making vehement opposition to the almighty grace of God.—The first was performed at the command and will of God, the second in like manner. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures,” James. 1:18.—The rudiments of the first was an undigested mass. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” Gen. 1:2. In like manner, all things lie in base confusion in the soul, when it is to be adorned by the new creation; and depraved lusts are violently agitated everywhere, without any order. Those things, which should possess the upper place, are depressed to the lowest. There is also a surprising emptiness of every thing that is good, Rom. 7:18. Neither are all things only surrounded with the gross darkness of ignorance, but the whole soul is nothing but darkness itself, Eph. 5:8. When God was pleased to adorn the world he had created, he began with the production of light, and he takes the same method in this other creation. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. 4:6.—After the light, God made the expanse or firmament, to divide the waters from the waters, or the waters under the firmament from those above it. He divided also the waters from the dry land. So also he brings every thing, by degrees, into order in our souls. He places reason, which was formerly depressed by the affections, on the chief throne, and commands the affections to stand at the footstool of reason; but then in such a manner, that the same Spirit which of old moved on the face of the waters, has the management of all here likewise.—When the dry land discovered itself from the waters, immediately flowers, herbs, and trees with their fruit, were produced: so after every thing is properly arranged in the new man, fruits meet for faith and repentance appear, and the church of God is “a paradise of pomegranates,”* Cant. 4:13. When the “rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell,” Cant. 2:11–13.—But as God was pleased to divide the huge mass of light into unequal parcels, in order to distinguish years and days in their seasons, and the more commodiously to cherish all things, by a certain proportion of light and heat: so he likewise dispenses his light in the church in different degrees. She has the stars of the prophecies twinkling in the midst of darkness; also the brighter day-star of the Gospel, the joyful harbinger of the perfect day, 2 Pet. 1:19: she is as the moon in the heavens of this universe, and the more abundant rays she receives from Jesus, who is her sun, the brighter she is, Cant. 6:10. Lastly, in proportion to the approach or removal of her sun, she enjoys the mystical revolutions of day and night, of summer and winter, Cant. 4:6. and 2:11. While the heavens are spangled with so many stars, the inferior parts of the creation are replete with various creatures, the air with birds, the waters with fish, the earth with animals, as well reptiles; as with feet. In the same manner, the grace of the Spirit of God quickens the soul by his holy emotions; some souls seem to live, as it were, in the waters of pious tears; others again, suiting themselves to meaner attainments, creep on the ground others, like lions, hold on a steady pace; while others, in fine, like eagles, soar aloft, and waft themselves on nimble pinions above all heavens.
XV. But the creation of man, which succeeded the former, displays again new mysteries. The whole Trinity addressed themselves to this by mutual consultation, and manifest themselves in a singular manner in the work of the new creation. The Father from eternity laid the plan of that work in his Son. The Son, in our nature, purchased our transformation into the likeness of God. The Holy Spirit executes the counsel of the Father, and applies the merits of the Son to his chosen people, in that new creation. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2:10, and born of the Spirit, Job 3:5.—In the first creation, man was adorned with the beautiful image of God, the same is restored to him in the second; at first, indeed, this image is soiled with some stains, however it cannot be lost, but shall gradually be perfected to the full likeness of God. While Adam was asleep, out of one of his ribs Eve was formed, whom he acknowledged to be flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. The death-sleep of Christ gives life to his beloved spouse. This mystery of Adam and Eve is great, regarding Christ and the church, Eph. 5:32.—The first man had dominion given him over all things, which is restored to him far more gloriously by grace, 1 Cor. 3:22. And if perhaps this world, as being subject to vanity, might seem unworthy of his dominion, God has framed another for his sake, in which dwelleth righteousness, 2 Pet. 3:13.
XVI. When God had thus created all things for man, man for himself, and formed Eve for Adam while he was asleep, he then rested from all his work, and took pleasure in it as good, and adapted to display the glory of his perfections. In this manner God still proceeds in the work of grace, till his Eve, his church, shall be perfectly adorned for our heavenly Adam, and the whole body of the elect, gathered together into one: and then, having finished all his work, he will enter upon his most blessed rest, and most sweetly delight himself in the new world of glory. And as on that day, on which God rested, man, at the same time, entered into the rest of God; so, in this other rest of God, the church having happily gone through all her toils, shall for ever enjoy, in like manner, a most holy and delightful rest. This is that [Sabbatism] rest which remaineth for the people of God, that they may enter into God’s rest, and cease from their works, as God did from his, Heb. 4:9, 10. And this shall suffice concerning the natural types.
XVII. Let us now illustrate two historical types, in the first age of the world. And we have Abel among the first, who was slain by his envious brother Cain, Gen. 4 1. Abel in Hebrew signifies vanity and emptiness; and he was called by that name, though he was a son dear to his parents, a servant dear to God, and indeed the first of all mankind, whom we read of that was honoured with the glory of heaven. Thus also Jesus, though he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, was to empty himself, upon assuming the nature of man, who is “like unto vanity,” Psa. 62:9. Nay suffering himself to be treated like a worm, which is inferior to a man.* 2. Abel was a shepherd: so the Messiah is that good shepherd by way of eminence, John 10:14. 3. The religious service of Abel was acceptable to God; and Christ does always those things that please him, John 8:29. 4. Abel offered the choice of what he had to God, of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. Christ, having nothing better, “through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God,” Heb. 9:10. 5. God graciously looked upon Abel’s offering: the offering of Christ was for a sweet-smelling savour to God, Eph. 5:2. 6. Cain, though a full brother, burnt with ungovernable envy against Abel. With the same fury the Jews were instigated against Christ, though they were his brethren on many accounts. 7. Cain conversed with Abel, with a design to entangle him in his words. How often did the Pharisees lay snares and traps for Christ, by their deceitful conferences? 8. Abel at last was slain by his brother, and, by a bloody death, cut off in the very flower of his age. Nor did the Jews cease, till they had cut off Christ by an accursed death, nailing him to the cross. 9. The parricide Cain was accursed and banished from the presence of the Lord. The deicide Jews are still under the same curse, being banished both from heaven and their native soil: and the blood of Christ which they shed, calls aloud for the vengeance which they, with mad fury, imprecated on themselves and their posterity; though, in other respects, the blood of Christ speaks better things than that of Abel, Heb. 12:24.
XVIII. As Abel typically represented Christ in his state of humiliation, so Enoch was a type of his glorification. 1. Enoch, חנוך signifies instructed,* devoted, being one who was consecrated to God, and from his early years, instructed in the doctrine of godliness. Compare Prov. 22:6: “חנוך לנער על פי דרכו train up, initiate, [instruct] a child in the way he should go,” instil into him the first principles of heavenly wisdom. If ever any one, surely Christ was consecrated and devoted to God, and when he was scarce twelve years of age, he appeared as a doctor amidst the greatest doctors in Israel. 2. Enoch walked with God, that is, according to the apostle, Heb. 11:5, pleased God. This also Christ perfectly did, in whom the Father was well pleased. 3. Enoch prophesied of the glorious coming of the Lord with ten thousands of his saints, Jude ver. 14. Christ often and very expressly foretold this, and that even when he was charged with blasphemy, and stood before the tribunal, Matt. 26:64. 4. Enoch, after he had walked with God, and declared the counsel of God to the men of his generation, was taken up alive to heaven, in soul and body, without seeing death, Heb. 2:5 for he was not to conquer it for the salvation of others. But Christ having suffered death for the elect, and purged away our sins by himself, was made higher than the heavens, and sat down at the right hand of the majesty in the highest. 5. Enoch was the seventh from Adam; Christ the seventieth from Enoch, as appears from his genealogy in Luke. 6. Enoch was the third person that we read of, who departed this world: Christ the third of those† who ascended to heaven. 7. As in Abel we have an instance of a violent death, in Adam of a natural; so in Enoch, an example of that supernatural change, which those of the elect shall undergo, who shall be alive at the last day. 8. And lastly, God was pleased, before the law, to give the world in Enoch an instance of an ascension to heaven; under the law, in the person of Elias; under the Gospel, in Christ; to show that believers, in every period, become partakers of the same salvation.
XIX. Let us next, under the second period, explain two types of the same kind. The first is Noah, the second Isaac. Peter declares, 1 Peter 3:20, 21, that Noah, the Patriarch of the new world, the ark which he built, and the waters of the deluge, had all their mystical signification; where he teaches us, that baptism is the antitype of those things which happened under and by the direction of Noah. Antitype there denotes a type corresponding in the same signification to some other type. For order’s sake, we will distinctly consider three things. 1. Noah himself. 2. The Ark. 3. The Deluge.
XX. As to Noah. 1st, His name signifies rest. And as that was not altogether expected in vain, so he could not bestow it fully and in a manner that was proper to answer the import of that name. But Christ freely bestows this on all those, who, being burdened with the load of sin, betake themselves to him; having calmed the storm of divine wrath that was hanging over our guilty heads, he brings his church amidst the storms and tempests of adversities to the wished-for haven of rest. 2dly, Noah was “a just man in his generation;” Christ was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,” knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; nay, he is Jehovah our righteousness. 3dly, Noah was a “preacher of righteousness;” Christ preached this much more distinctly, both that righteousness by which we must be justified before God, and that which we should endeavour after as a testimony of our gratitude. 4thly, Noah, in building the ark, prepared a safe retreat for his family against the impending waters of the deluge. Concerning Christ it is said, Isa. 32:2, “and a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.” 5thly, Noah preserved his family, which consisted only of eight souls; Christ preserves the children whom God has given him; who, in comparison of the great number of those that perish, are but a little flock. 6thly, As Noah was the prince of the second world; so Christ is the head of that new world, which was formed by means of the ruin and destruction of the former. For, as whatever belonged to the former world was destroyed in the time of Noah; so whatever takes its rise from the first Adam ought to be abolished, in order to give place to the new creature, which is from Christ. 7thly, Noah offered to God a sacrifice of a sweet savour; Christ offers that sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, by the virtue of which God is reconciled to the world. 8thly, After God had smelled a sweet savour from the sacrifice which Noah offered, he promised that he would no more destroy the world by a new deluge; but only collect that quantity of vapours in the air, which being beautifully painted with the solar rays, might form in the heavens the variegated rainbow. By the efficacy of the sacrifice which Christ offered, God was reconciled to his elect, and promised that he would never punish them in his anger, but only chastise them with slighter paternal stripes, amidst which the rays of his grace would shine.
XXI. The ark which Noah built, signified both Christ and the church of Christ. It was a type of Christ: for, 1st, As the ark secured all who entered into it from the descending rains, and from the waters of the great abyss, as they broke out from beneath; so Christ gives a secure refuge to all who fly to him, both against the wrath of God, which is revealed from heaven, and against the rage of their infernal enemies. 2dly, As it appeared ridiculous to the ungodly world, who were hardened to their own destruction, that the seeds of a new universe should be preserved in such an ark; so the glad tidings of salvation which we are to seek for only in Christ, are to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. 3dly, As the ark had its just dimensions of length, breadth, and depth, and in a word, was so large as to be able to contain so many animals together with their food: so in like manner, there is in Jesus Christ that length, breadth, depth, and height of delightful love, which is abundantly sufficient for saving all the elect for ever. 4thly, That pitch, with which, according to God’s appointment, the joints of the ark were pitched over, within and without, to prevent all ingress of the water, is called in Hebrew בופר cophir, which likewise signifies expiation, and a price of redemption. Was not this an elegant and correct representation of the expiation and redemption of Christ, to which alone we are indebted for our being secured from the deluge of divine vengeance?
XXII. But this same ark was also a figure of the church. 1st, As the ark contained all the hope of the second world; so in like manner, the church contains that assembly of the first-born, who are to be the heirs of the new world. 2dly, As the profane Ham also entered into the ark with the godly, and many unclean beasts with the clean; so many impure hypocrites creep into the external communion of the church. 3dly, As the ark remained unhurt and unshattered amidst all the shocks of storms and tempests, the tops of houses and craggy cliffs of mountains and rocks; so neither shall the gates of hell prevail against the church. 4thly, As the ark floated securely on the waters, without sails, oars, or rudder, by the providence of God alone, even when Noah was asleep; so the church, when destitute of all human aid, and while they to whose care she is committed are often asleep, is guided by the watchful eye of Christ, and at last happily brought into the haven of salvation. 5thly, As the ark, upon the retiring of the waters again into their abyss, rested upon the mountains of Ararat, where Noah, when he debarked and set his feet on dry land, offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to God; so, in like manner, the church, after it has passed through the trials, dangers, and oppositions of this present world, shall rest in the heavenly Zion, where, with uninterrupted thanksgivings she will sing the praises of her great God and Saviour.
XXIII. Again, the waters of the deluge have a reference both to Christ and the church. 1st, As the waters which descended from heaven and violently issued out from beneath, covered the ark and encompassed it on every side; so Christ was also to grapple with the wrath of his heavenly Father, with the bands of hell let loose upon him, and with the unrelenting cruelty of malicious men. In short, “the sorrows of death compassed him, and the floods of [Belial] ungodly men made him afraid,” Psa. 18:4. 2dly, As those waters did indeed cover, but did not sink the ark; nay, the deeper they were, the more they lifted it up on high and brought it nearer to heaven; so Christ, in like manner, “was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit,” 1 Peter. 3:18. And the more grievous his sufferings were, to the higher pitch of glory did God exalt him, Peter. 2:9. 3dly, As the waters of the deluge destroyed the world of the ungodly, but preserved the ark, 1 Pet. 3:20, which being lifted up on high, was placed above the tops of houses and turrets, against which it might be dashed, while in the mean time, all the devices and instruments of art were overthrown; so the afflictions, which are sent by God are indeed to consume the ungodly, and drive them headlong into hell; but appointed to purge and prepare the godly for salvation, that they may not perish with the world, 1 Cor. 11:32. 4thly, As the waters of the deluge, by drowning sinners, washed out the crimes of the old world, that the church being delivered from these notorious crimes, might with the greater purity serve God, (by which the same thing is set forth as by the water of baptism, 1 Peter 3:21); so by the blood and Spirit of Christ, our sins are washed away, the old man mortified, that the new man may with the greater alacrity be employed for God.
XXIV. Lastly, It is not for nothing that notice is taken of the dove, which Noah sent out, and which returned in the evening, with an olive-leaf plucked off. For, 1st, As Noah was a type of Christ, so that dove was a type of the Holy Spirit, which descended upon Christ when he was baptized at Jordan. 2dly, As that dove brought the olive-branch to those who were in the ark, from which they might infer that the waters were now dried up; so in like manner, the Holy Spirit assures those that are in the church of the peace of God, the symbol of which was the olive-branch. 3dly, As the dove carried that olive-leaf in her mouth; so the Holy Spirit publishes that mystical, or spiritual peace, by the mouth of the prophets, apostles, and evangelists. 4thly, As the dove came to the ark in the evening; so, in the evening of the world, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are more plentiful and abundant.
XXV. Omitting for the present the illustrious type of Melchizedek, which Paul has accurately explained, Heb. 7, we shall take a short view of the history of ISAAC, who was a type of Christ, 1st, In his person; 2dly, In his offering; 3dly, In his deliverance and the glorious consequence thereof.
XXVI. As to his person. 1st, He is called Isaac from laughing, because he was a son of joy and exultation to his parents, Gen. 21:6. But Christ is the joy of the whole world, and at his birth the angels proclaimed to the shepherds good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, Luke 2:16. 2dly, Isaac was the “Son of the promise,” being descended in a miraculous manner from Abraham, who was old, and from Sarah, who was barren and past bearing, by the alone efficacy of the word of God, whereby “he calls things that are not, as if they were,” Rom. 4:17; so Christ, not according to the order of nature, nor by virtue of the general blessing, “Increase and multiply,” but by the efficacy of a gracious promise, was born of a virgin mother by a strange and surprising miracle. 3dly, Isaac was the only son of Abraham, Gen. 22:2, by a lawful and free wife, and in whom “his seed was to be called,” Gen. 21:12, though he likewise had Ishmael, and afterwards begat sons of Keturah; so Christ is the only-begotten Son of the Father, John 3:16, though he also has brethren, but of a far more inferior order and condition, Rom. 8:29. 4thly, Isaac was the head of Abraham’s family, and, in his measure, that is, typically, the origin of the blessing. Christ is the head of God’s family, “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Eph. 3:15; and “in him we are blessed with all spiritual blessings,” Eph. 1:3.
XXVII. In the offering of Isaac the analogy is in the following particulars:—1st, Abraham could not possibly have given a more illustrious instance of his love to God, than by offering to the death his son, his only son Isaac, whom he loved, in whom all his hopes were placed. Nor was it possible for God to give a more illustrious display of his love to men than by delivering up for them his beloved and only-begotten Son to the most dreadful tortures of many deaths in one, John 3:16. 2. It was an extraordinary instance of Isaac’s obedience, to submit to his Father in such a dreadful case without a repining murmur. And who can, as it justly deserves, relate with what cheerfulness Christ obeyed his Father unto the death, even the death of the cross? Phil. 2:8. 3. As Isaac went out of his Father’s house to the place which God had appointed; so Christ went out of Jerusalem in order to suffer without the gate, Heb.13:11. 4. Isaac carried the wood; and Christ carried his cross. 5. Isaac’s hands were tied; in like manner were Christ’s. 6. Isaac was laid on the wood; and Christ was nailed to the cross. 7. Isaac was offered on Mount Moriah, which was either the same with or at least near to Calvary, where our Lord was crucified.
XXVIII. We are further to observe these coincidences in his deliverance. 1st, Isaac was already dead in his father’s opinion, and Abraham received him from the dead in a figure, Heb. 11:19. So Christ, being truly dead, was restored to life. 2dly, Isaac was dead in his father’s intention, from the moment he received the command to offer him up, until the third day, on which he was forbid to lay hands on the lad. On the third day also Christ arose. 3dly, When Isaac was restored to Abraham, he dwelt with his father, and became the parent of a numerous seed. So when Christ rose from the dead, he entered into his Father’s house, and saw his seed, Isa. 53:10.
XXIX. When a ram was substituted for Isaac, who was otherwise to have been offered; by inverting the figure, Isaac represents the church, and the ram is a figure of Christ. 1. Isaac was, by the command of God, brought to be offered, which was near put in execution by Abraham. Thus the severity of the divine judgment against sin was shadowed forth; whereby, unless the satisfaction of Christ had interposed, all mankind must have perished. 2. That ram was not of Abraham’s fold, but was suddenly at hand, and got ready for that purpose, by a remarkable dispensation of divine providence. Thus also Christ was given by a peculiar gift of God to us, who could never have found, among any thing belonging to us, a sacrifice fit for an expiation. 3. That ram’s being caught by the horns in the thicket, seems to be a representation of all those calamities in which Christ was involved through the whole course of his life; and why may we not here call to mind that crown of thorns which was put round his head? 4. Abraham did not see the ram before he was called upon by God. None sees Christ by faith but by the efficacy of the Gospel call. 5. After the ram was offered Isaac was set at liberty. Christ having died for the elect, they also shall live for ever.
XXX. Under the Mosaic period, no persons were more illustrious than Moses himself, and Aaron his brother. But Moses sustains a two-fold character or relation. 1st, That of a law-giver, whose office it was strictly to inculcate the law with its appendages. 2dly, Of an interpreter and teacher of the promises made to the fathers concerning a Saviour and salvation. In the former respect he is opposed to Christ, and is a type of the law. In the latter, he remarkably represents Christ.
XXXI. To the former relation belong the following particulars:—1st, His slow speech and stammering tongue, Exod. 4:10, signified, that the doctrine of the law is disagreeable and harsh to the sinful man (quite the reverse of the doctrine of grace, which Christ declares, whose mouth is therefore said to be “most sweet,” Cant. 5:16), and can by no means justify him, but rather condemns him, that “every mouth may be stopped,” Rom. 3:19. 2dly, That the people being forbidden to draw near to the holy mount, on pain of death, and their being secluded from familiar converse with God, while he himself alone was allowed a nearer approach to the Deity, represented, that his legal ministry could by no means unite sinners to God, but was rather an evidence of that separation which is between God and man. 3. When, being actuated by a holy zeal, he broke the tables of the covenant, and stirred up the treacherous Israelites to mutual slaughter, he actually showed that his ministry was the “ministration of death and condemnation,” 2 Cor. 3:7, 9. 4. That his covering his face with a veil, when he was to speak to the children of Israel, was a figure that the glorious doctrine of grace was not a little obscured among a carnal people by the covering of his ceremonies; for being wholly intent on the veil, they did not penetrate into the glory that was concealed behind it. 5. Though among the many miracles he performed, a variety of judgments were indeed inflicted upon his enemies, by which they were destroyed, but not so much as one raised from the dead. Is not this a confirmation of what we just said, that the law is a “killing letter,” 2 Cor. 3:6, in contradistinction to the “law of the Spirit of life, which is in Jesus Christ,” Rom. 8:2. 6. and lastly, That he himself died in the wilderness, without being able to bring the people into the promised land, but was obliged to leave that work to Jesus (Joshua), the son of Nun. Is not this a plain proof that salvation is not of the law? It is only to be looked for from our Jesus, who is also the end of the law, which was published by Moses, and whom Moses recommended to the people to hear, preferably to Joshua.
XXXII. But as in that respect Moses was opposed to Christ, so in another he clearly prefigured him, both in his person and offices. As to his person: 1. The birth both of Moses and of Christ was rendered famous by the tyrannical slaughter of infants. 2. Both of them having undergone, immediately on their birth, a cruel persecution from their enemies, did not escape but by a miracle of the singular providence of God. 3. Moses, when he might have enjoyed the pleasures of the Egyptian court, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to partake in the reproach of his brethren. In like manner, though Christ thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet, veiling his majesty, he chose contempt and poverty, in order to honour and enrich his people, 4thly, Moses had not his equal among men for meekness, Numb. 12:3. So Christ left an example of the most perfect meekness to his people, Matt. 11:29. 5thly, When Moses came from conversing with God in the holy mount, he dazzled the eyes of the spectators with a kind of radiancy issuing from his face. Christ is the “brightness of the Father’s glory,” Heb. 1:3, “and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,” John 1:14. And when he was transfigured before his disciples, “his face did shine as the sun,” Matt. 17:4.
XXXIII. Moses sustained a three-fold office. I. That of a Deliverer. II. Of a Mediator. III. Of a Prophet. In each he was a type of Christ. He is called λυτρώτης, a deliverer (redeemer), Acts 7:35. For, by the power of God, he delivered the people from Egyptian bondage, by destroying the first-born of Egypt, by preserving the Israelites by the blood of the paschal lamb, by enriching them with the spoils of their enemies, and, in fine, by drowning Pharaoh and all his host In like manner, Christ redeems (delivers) his elect from the tyranny of the devil, overthrows all the power which opposes the liberty of his brethren, taking such a vengeance on his enemies as contains an express charge of guilt: with his own blood he sprinkles the hearts of the elect, and screens them from the destroying angel, brings into the church the glory and honour of the nations, Rev. 21:26; and in a word, having spoiled principalities and powers, he makes a show of them openly, triumphing over them, Col. 2:15.
XXXIV. Moses himself declares, that he was a mediator. Deut. 5:5: “I stood between Jehovah and you at that time;” and he acted as a mediator in a two-fold respect. 1. As the messenger of the covenant, proposing the commandments and promises of God to the people, and bringing the words of the people back to God, Exod. 19:7, 8, and in a solemn manner ratifying the covenant in the name of both parties, Exod. 24:8. 2. As interceding for the people with God, praying, that if divine justice could not otherwise be satisfied, himself might rather be blotted out of the book of God, and the people spared, Exod. 32:32. In all these things, he represents Christ, who in a far more excellent manner is the mediator between God and man: not only the angel of the covenant, and the messenger of the everlasting testament, but also the sponsor and surety of a better covenant than that of Moses, Heb. 7:22; not only in the name of God undertaking with men for their salvation, and all things appertaining thereto, but also in our name undertaking with God to cancel, by his death, all our debts, to the utmost farthing; and being admitted by God to the discharge of that office, he, by his death and intercession, became the procurer of an everlasting peace.
XXXV. Lastly, As Moses was the greatest Prophet of God’s people, whose equal no age produced, Deut. 34:10; so Christ in this also was like to Moses, Deut. 18:28; nay, so much greater than Moses, as a Son is greater than a servant, and “he who hath builded the house than the house,” Heb. 3:5, 3:6. More especially, First, Whereas God made himself known unto the other prophets in a vision or a dream, with Moses “he spoke mouth to mouth,” and gave him to behold “the similitude of the Lord,” Numb. 12:6, 7, 8. But who did ever more clearly see God than his only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, and was therefore only qualified to declare the Father unto us? John 1:18. Secondly, None of the prophets was so famous for miracles and wonders as Moses. And yet Christ, by his miracles, struck every one with astonishment, and obliged even the most refractory Jews to confess, that nothing like or even equal to them was ever seen in Israel, Matt. 9:33. Thirdly, Moses made great alterations in the external polity or form of worship, and, at God’s command, made many additions to it. Christ again, by the same will of God, having abrogated the former institutions, made the church appear in a more excellent form, and delivered those words which God had reserved to be spoken in the last days. Fourthly, “Moses was faithful in all the house of God, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after,” Heb. 3:5, proposing all these things briefly and obscurely, which were to be spoken and taught though the whole house of God in every period of time. But Christ, with his apostles, spoke those things clearly, to which Moses bore witness as to things afterwards to be spoken, John 5:46, Acts 26:22.
XXXVI. To Moses let us join Aaron, whose typical relation we cannot here however explain without intermixing some things from the legal types. First, He being born before Moses, was sanctified, at God’s command, to be the high priest of the people in things pertaining to God, Exod. 28:1, and 29:1; Heb. 5:1. In like manner Christ, the first-born among many brethren, and the only begotten Son of God, is the “high priest of our profession (Heb. 3:1, who glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee,” Heb. 5:5. Secondly, When Aaron was to be installed in his office, he was anointed with the most fragrant oil, even with that which was appointed for the most sacred uses, Exod. 29:7. and 30:31, 32. This was so plentifully poured on his head, that it run down upon his beard, and to the skirts of his garments, Psa. 133:2. In like manner God anointed Christ “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” Acts 10:38; “not by measure,” John 3:34. and his gifts descend plentifully upon all his chosen people, 1 John 2:20. Whence “his name is as ointment poured forth,” Cant. 1:3; but the elect only partake of it; for the profane world “receiveth not this Spirit,” John 14:17.
XXXVII. Thirdly, Aaron was likewise clothed with holy garments. 1. He had a mitre of the finest linen upon his head, to which was fastened on a blue lace a plate of pure gold, having engraven upon it “Holiness to Jehovah,” Exod. 28:36, 37: and by this was signified the most unspotted holiness of Christ, both as to his divine and human nature, Heb. 7:28, and likewise that Christ was the person who “bears the iniquity of the holy things,” ver. 38, that is, expiates the sins with which our most holy actions are otherwise polluted. 2. He was also clothed with a blue robe, upon the hem of which were pomegranates and golden bells interchangeably, quite round, Exod. 28:31, 33. That represented the robe of righteousness with which Christ was himself clothed, and with which he clothes his people, Isa. 61:10, as also the most acceptable sound of the gospel, to be preached by him, whithersoever he should come, together with the most sweet and fragrant fruits thereof. 3. He also had on the ephod,* or short cloak of most curious workmanship, on the shoulders of which were joined two onyx stones with the names of the children of Israel, Exod. 28:6, 9. By which was signified that his chosen people would be very dear to Christ our high priest; he was to carry them, as it were, on his shoulders into the heavenly sanctuary, Isa. 40:11; nay, and to carry them with care, as a precious stone, סנלה segullah, a peculiar treasure, and as his own inheritance. 4. There was likewise the holy breastplate of judgment, with twelve precious stones set therein, on each of which was a name of a tribe of Israel, Exod. 28:15, 17. Many are pleased to call this the “Urim and Thummim,” Lev. 8:8. This signified that Christ is he, אשר לו חמשפט “whose is the judgment,” Ezek. 21:27, to whom “the father hath given authority to execute judgment,” John 5:27, with whom is the light of the most perfect wisdom, and the perfections of the most consummate holiness, and who bears his chosen people on his heart, and presents them by name, by his intercession with his Father. Nor has it without reason been observed by the learned, that, when under the New Testament we likewise read of twelve precious stones; the jasper, which had the last place in the Old, has the first in the New, Rev. 21:19, as if it was the band or connexion of both Testaments, intimating to us, that both have the same scope; namely, Christ, whose cherishing never-failing grace is elegantly represented by the greenness of the jasper. 5. and lastly, To omit other particulars, Aaron’s ephod, which otherwise hung loose, was bound close with a girdle of gold, blue, &c., interwove with fine linen, in a most curious manner, ver. 8. Which signified with what alacrity and readiness, together with the most considerable prudence, Jesus undertook his office.
XXXVIII. 4thly. The authority of Aaron’s priesthood was ratified by the miraculous buds, blossoms, and fruits of the rod which was cut from the almond-tree, which was the only one of all the other rods that suddenly budded, Numb. 17. That rod signifies Christ, who not only came forth out of the cut stem of Jesse, Isa. 11:1, but was also “cut off out of the land of the living,” Isa. 53:8, yet budded again immediately after his death, and became a tree of life, having at the same time buds, blossoms, and fruit, yielding new fruit every month, Rev. 22:2. It also represents the perpetual fresh and flourishing efficacy of Christ’s priesthood, who is a priest “after the power of an endless life,” Heb. 7:16.
XXXIX. 5thly, Aaron, by the legal sacrifices, expiated the sins of the people, and by his prayers interceded for them, Numb. 16:43, especially on the solemn day of expiation, when, with the blood of the slain sacrifice, he entered into the holy of holies. So Christ in like manner “through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, entered not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor with the blood of others, but with his own, he obtained eternal redemption,” Heb. 9:14, 24, 25.
XL. These are a few instances, from among many, of the historical types, to which we shall subjoin two of the legal types from a great number of others. And in the first place, let us consider the mystery of the ark of the covenant, which is, as it were, the centre and compendium of all the ceremonies. The construction of this ark is described, Exod. 25:10. It was made of Shittim wood, or, as is generally thought, of the most excellent cedar. That wood, when made into the form of an ark, was overlaid within and without, with the purest gold. The ark had a crown or cornice of gold around it. Four rings of gold were put in the sides; and into these two staves made of cedar wood, but overlaid with gold, to carry the ark by, which were never to be taken out of the rings, even while it remained in its place. In the ark the tables of the testimony were put; but the covering mercy-seat of pure gold was placed above on the ark. And two cherubim of gold, made of one piece with the mercy-seat, covered it with their wings, having their faces so turned towards each other, as at the same time to look downwards to the mercy-seat. The figure of these cherubim is a matter of much dispute among writers. The description which Josephus gives of them is not amiss, Antiq. lib. iii. c. 6, when he says that they were “winged animals, resembling nothing that was ever seen by men.” That they came the nearest to the shape of an ox, may be gathered from Ezek. 1:10, compared with Ezek. 10:14. For, in the latter place, what is called the face of a cherub, is in the former called the face of an ox. Further כרב, whence the name cherubim is derived, signifies in the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, to plough, for which oxen were formerly much employed. On the mercy-seat, between the two cherubim, was the throne of the divine majesty, from whence answers were given to the inquirers. The ordinary place of the ark was within the veil, in the holy of holies, Exod. 26:33; but in such a manner, that the ends of the staves were seen from the holy place, towards the front of the holy of holies, 1 Kings 8:8. While the tabernacle stood, the ark was taken out of it when the Israelites were to march, that it might search out a resting-place for them, Numb. 10:33, and be to them as the symbol of the divine presence, for their comfort, but a terror to their enemies, ver. 34, 35. But after it was once brought into the temple it was not taken from thence till that was destroyed, Psa. 132:13, 14; 2 Chron. 5:9. Now let us inquire into the meaning of all this.
XLI. This ark principally signified, or was a type of Christ. 1st, Its matter, being partly of wood and partly of gold, was proper to represent the two natures of Christ: the wood might denote his human nature, according to which he is “the fruit of the earth,” Isa. 4:2. And it was incorrupted, free from all putrefaction, even when it was dead and laid in the grave, Psa. 16:10, agreeably to which Pliny ascribes “eternity to cedar,” lib. xiii. c. 5. Gold was accounted a symbol of divinity, in respect of solidity, purity, brightness, and value; and so that represented the eternity, holiness, and glory of Christ; and, at the same time, showed us how valuable he ought to be in our eyes; even of such value, as that we should count all things else but loss and dung, in comparison of him, Phil. 3:8. But as the gold only was conspicuous, and not the wood which was within and without overlaid with gold, did not this signify that Christ was not then manifested in the flesh, but his manifestation, which had hitherto been wrapped up in the most precious promises of God, was reserved for a happier period? 2dly. The form of the ark, by which it was capable to contain a great treasure, denoted that Christ was the person, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and of all manner of happiness; from whose fulness the elect may receive grace for grace. 3dly, The cornice or crown of gold which encompassed the ark seems to be a type of the crown and kingdom of Christ. 4thly, The tables of the covenant, which were put into the ark, signified, that Christ was to have the law of God in the midst of his bowels, or within his heart, and to fulfil all the righteousness of it for his chosen people.
XLII. 5thly, But the propitiatory covering, or the mercy-seat, in an especial manner, signified Christ, as talking away the guilt of our sins. For “God is in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” 2 Cor. 5:19. Formerly that propitiatory or mercy-seat, being placed in the holy of holies of the tabernacle, or temple, behind the veil, was concealed from the eyes of all, because the expiation was not yet made: but God has now set forth Christ, exposed him before the eyes of all believers, and openly exhibited him to their view, as “a propitiation in his blood,” Rom. 3:25. The mercy-seat being of pure gold, but laid upon the ark of wood, teacheth us what it was that added worth and value to the obedience and sufferings of the man Christ; namely, the infinite dignity of his God-head. The tables of the law were covered by the mercy-seat; which the men of Bethshemeth venturing to look into, when the cover was but a very little removed, brought a fearful destruction upon themselves, 1 Sam. 6:19. By Christ’s propitiation all our sins are covered, Psa. 32:1; but should we venture to view the law without this, we should find nothing there but the sentence of eternal condemnation. On the mercy-seat God displayed the presence of his majesty, and from thence gave gracious answers to his people. In Christ a throne of grace is erected, to which every believer may approach with boldness. And be assured that, if he pray according to the will of God, he shall not pray in vain, but there “find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. 4:16. There God dwelt in the cloud, Lev. 16:2; amidst the darkness of which the rays of divine effulgence shone forth; which indwelling the Hebrew doctors have expressed by the famous term, שכינה, shechinah, and what else does this signify, but the fulness of the Godhead, that was to dwell bodily in the man Christ, and through Christ graciously in us? Col. 2:9. The Word was made flesh, and ἐσκήνωσεν, tabernacled, or dwelt, as in a tabernacle (observe the elegant allusion to the Hebrew word, shechinah), εν ἡμῖν in, among us, John 1:14.
XLIII. Sixthly, The cherubim over the propitiatory or mercy-seat, represented the holy angels, who descended upon Christ to minister unto him while in this world, John 1:51, and with myriads of whom he is now surrounded, while sitting on a throne of glory, Dan. 7:10. Isa. 6:2. Psa. 68:17. They were of the same piece with the mercy seat, because Christ, by his propitiation, has brought about a coalition of the elect, from among men, into one heavenly society with the angels. For by his means, “we are come unto the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads, an innumerable company of angels,” Heb. 12:22. The cherubim viewed the ark with their faces downward, desiring to look into the mysteries of our redemption, 1 Pet. 1:12. They were two in number, with their faces towards each other, nevertheless each might also view the ark: this their position represented the duty of believers, both of the Old and New Testament, who, with eyes of a like precious faith and mutual love, view one another, but they jointly fix their eyes upon Christ, for the angels are often proposed to us as examples.
XLIV. I dare not affirm with some, that the cherubim were directly an emblem of believers, it being certain that by them in Scripture, angels are represented. God committed the guarding of paradise to the cherubim, Gen. 3:24. Riding upon a cherub he flies, Psa. 18:10; but I have not yet seen any Scripture-testimony, to prove that believers are called cherubim. The only one produced, with any show of probability, is that from, Rev. 5:8–10, where it is thought that the same song is ascribed to the four living creatures, which are the cherubim, together with the four and twenty elders, in which they proclaim their being redeemed by the blood of the lamb, out of every kindred; which is not true of angels but of believers. But I answer: 1st, If, by the four living creatures, believers are here to be understood, I could wish it were shown, why these living creatures are generally placed before the four and twenty elders, who are the patriarchs and predecessors of the universal church; nay, and who lead and go before them in their sacred songs, as may be seen, Rev. 4:9, 10. As every reason would persuade, that the patriarchs of the universal church should have the precedency before the promiscuous assembly in celebrating the divine praises. Also, how the church of believers should introduce John, to the vision and knowledge of things to come, which certainly knew nothing about them but by means of John; and yet they are said to have done this, Rev. 6:1, 3, 5, 7. Certainly, angels, and not men, usually perform that office to the prophets. 2dly. The former clause of ver. 8, namely, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty elders fell down before the lamb, is affirmed of both conjointly. But we need not understand what follows, “having every one of them harps,” &c. ver. 9. “and they sung a new song,” &c. of any other but the four and twenty elders. I will not now say, with a very learned person, that this appears from the Greek construction; because, as ἔχοντες ἕκαστος, having every one, is of the masculine gender, it cannot be referred to ξώα, living creatures, which is neuter; for I know that is of little weight: but I shall confirm this exposition by some passages altogether similar, Neh. 13:1, 2, it is said: “Therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever: because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them,” &c. The first thing asserted, viz. that they met not Israel, is common both to the Moabites and Ammonites; but the latter, about hiring Balaam, is applicable only to the Moabites, as appears from, Numb. 22:3. In like manner, Jer. 21:7. “I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, &c. into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, &c. who shall smite them with the edge of the sword.” What is said in the former clause, about delivering Zedekiah, and his servants, and the people, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, is true of all: but what is afterwards added, who will smite them with the edge of the sword, must be understood of the servants and people of Zedekiah, not of himself, who died a natural death, Jer. 52:11. So in like manner, here it is true, that both the living creatures and the elders fell down before Christ, whom angels, as well as men, adore. But the harps, and vials full of odours, and the song, belong to the elders, not to the living creatures.* At least it cannot be proved from this place. But let us return to the ark.
XLV. The staves, which were put into four rings of gold for carrying the ark, signified, that Christ with all his grace and glory should be, as it were, carried by the preaching of the Gospel to the four quarters of the world. The faithful preachers of the Gospel may justly be called χριστοφόροι, bearers† of Christ. These staves were never to be taken out of the rings, even while the ark rested, after it was set up in its place. The sound of the gospel has never been altogether suppressed; and no country can be assured, that Christ with his Gospel may not depart from it. The place in which the ark rested, was the holy of holies within the veil. The place of Christ’s rest is in the sanctuary not made with hands, Heb. 9:24, after he entered into that within the veil, Heb. 6:19, 20. But the ends of the staves being seen in the holy place, signified that though Christ indeed is in heaven out of the reach of our bodily eyes; yet he reveals himself to the eyes of our faith, by a manifestation of his manifold grace. That, during the standing of the tabernacle, the ark was carried sometimes to one place, and sometimes to another, but was not removed from the temple, till the destruction of it, might signify to believers that Christ should afterwards come forth, from the sanctuary of the divine decrees and promises, and so from heaven itself, and while he passed through the country of Israel, was seen sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another, but after he was again received into heaven, he should continue there until the time, “in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” 2 Pet. 3:10. “Whom the heaven must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things,” Acts 3:21.
XLVI. It was not without a display of divine wisdom, that there was to be a time when the ark was not in the house of God; namely, under the second temple, as Jeremiah foretold should happen: “They shall say no more, the ark of the covenant of Jehovah: neither shall it come to mind,” Jer. 3:16. For by this they might be admonished to expect another, and indeed, a far more noble habitation for God; another mercy-seat, far more excellent, to which the former was commanded to give place, as the shadow to the body. However, it is not without a mystery, that John saw again the temple of God opened in heaven, and that there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament, Rev. 11:19. And that, at the time, in which the kingdoms of the world were become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, ver. 15. John saw these things in heaven, because heaven was the place where he was favoured with these visions, Rev. 4:1. Not that every thing he saw was to be in heaven. For surely that war, which he describes, Rev. 12:7, 8, was not to be there, but in the church on earth. But what did he now see? The temple opened. This, if I mistake not, signifies a free, open, and unobstructed entrance for all into the church of Christ, into which the nations of the world, or as Paul speaks, Rom. 11:25, the fulness of the Gentiles had come in; and whose doors now stood open even for the Jews, against whom they had been shut for a great while. In that temple, he sees again the ark, which was a symbol of the covenant formerly entered into with the Jews: by which is signified a new habitation for Christ among the Jewish nation, not by an external symbol, but by internal and spiritual grace; and as they shall enjoy this, they will readily and with gladness be without an external symbol. See what Jonas le Buy, whom Bochart, Hieroz, lib. iii. c. 9, calls an excellent person, and highly skilled in those matters, has wrote on this place.
XLVII. Near the ark was laid up the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, which budded, Numb. 17:3, 5. to represent the incredible and permanent sweetness of that spiritual food, which Christ bestows on his people, and which himself prefers, on so many accounts, to the manna, given by Moses, John 6:48, &c. and which, by an evident allusion to what was contained in this pot, is called the hidden manna, Rev. 2:17. And, at the same time, to show the perpetual verdure and eternal efficacy of Christ’s priesthood, by virtue of which our buds also may come to blow, and humble shrubs may emit balsam. So much shall suffice concerning the ark of the covenant.
XLVIII. Let us now consider the things which the high priest was to perform on the solemn day of expiation, in order to give another instance of a legal type, the ceremonies of which are described, Lev. 16. Aaron was to put on the linen garments appropriated for that day, and only during those ministrations which were to be performed within the second veil, ver. 4. And after he was ordered to make an atonement for himself and his house by offering a young bullock, he was commanded to take from the congregation of the children of Israel, two kids of the goats for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, ver. 5. These kids were to be procured at the common expense of all, out of the treasury appointed for defraying the charges of the sacrifices, and other things necessary for the worship of God. Both, as one offering, belonged to one sacrifice for sin. Both were an expiatory sacrifice, bearing their sin, in the room of sinful Israel. These goats were to be presented to God before Jehovah, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; they were sacred to God and devoted to his worship, ver. 7. Lots were to be cast upon both; one lot for Jehovah, and the other for Azazel,* ver. 8: this, according to the Jews, was done in this manner. The High Priest stood before the goats between the Sagan, or the Priest next the High Priest, and the head or chief person of the principal family; then out of a box he drew the lots, which were at first of wood; and under the second temple, of gold: on one these was inscribed, for Jehovah, on the other, for Azazel: the lot drawn out with the right hand, was put on the head of the goat, opposite to that hand; and that drawn with the left, placed on the head of that opposite to the left. See Ainsworth and Altingius. That which fell to Jehovah, was to be prepared for a sin-offering; which was directly done, not by killing immediately, but by declaration. For, the lot being laid upon it, the High Priest called it the sin for the Lord, that is, appointed to be a sacrifice for sin; and he offered it, that is, put it in the place of slaughter at the north side of the altar. But that which fell to Azazel, was again presented alive before Jehovah, to make an atonement over it, by confession and imposition of sins, ver. 9, 10. Then that which was Jehovah’s was to be killed for the sins of the people, and its blood carried within the veil, with which blood the High Priest was to sprinkle both the mercy-seat, and the place before the mercy-seat. Thus an atonement was to be made for the holy place, and for the tabernacle of the congregation, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, ver. 15, 16. Then again the live goat, which by lot fell to Azazel, was to be brought forth: and the High Priest laid both his hands on his head, and confessed over it the iniquities of the children of Israel, generally in this form, according to the Jews: “Lord, I beseech thee, thy people, the house of Israel have transgressed, been rebellious, and have sinned before thee. Lord, I beseech thee, forgive now the trespasses and rebellions and sins, which thy people, the house of Israel, have trespassed, and in which they have been rebellious; as it is written in the law of Moses, thy servant, because, on this day, he will make atonement for you, to cleanse you from all your sins.” Joma c. 6. And the priests and people, who stood in the porch, upon hearing the name, יהוה, Jehovah, pronounced by the High Priest, kneeled, with their faces downward, adored, and said: “Blessed be the Lord, and let the glory of his kingdom be for ever.” In this manner, all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their trespasses of what kind soever, greater and smaller, sins against knowledge, or sins of ignorance, were laid upon the goat, which was sent away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness, bearing the iniquities of the children of Israel, into a land not inhabited, ver. 21, 22. But the bullock which Aaron offered for himself, and the goat which he offered for the people, were to be carried without the camp, that their skins, and their flesh, and their dung, might be burnt, ver. 27. Before we inquire into the mystery of these things, some difficulties are first to be cleared up.
XLIX. And first, it is indeed very obscure, what we are to understand by עזאזל Azazel: I have chiefly met with four opinions of the learned concerning this word. The first is, that by Azazel we are to understand the very goat which was sent forth into the wilderness. And they suppose this may be gathered from the etymology of the word, which is said to be compounded of עז, a goat, and אזל, went away. And according to them, the words of Moses are thus to be understood. One lot for Jehovah, that is, for the goat to be offered to Jehovah; the other for Azazel, that is for the goat that was to go into the wilderness. But though the Hebrew word may signify a goat going away, yet it cannot thence be concluded that by that name the goat itself was signified: as it is possible, that, on occasion of the goat’s going away, the place to which it was led might be so called, which Kimchi in Radicibus contends for: “that place was so called,” says he, “because the goat went thither.” But the main thing is, that this explication of the lots is very perplexed: whereas the words of Moses are clear, that the lots were cast for the goats, to know which of them should fall to Jehovah, and which to Azazel. Nor does it appear that one of the goats could be called Azazel, unless we suppose the other goat was called Jehovah, which is absurd.
L. Those of the second opinion, will have it that Azazel was a steep and rugged mountain in the wilderness. Thus Jonathan, Saadias, Gaon, Jarchi, Kimchi, and most of the Jews. But it has been well observed by others: 1st. That Moses nowhere mentions Mount Azazel, as he mentions the mountains of Ararat, Mount Abarim, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim, &c. 2dly. That it does not seem probable, that in a country so often travelled over, and so exactly described, none should ever make mention of Mount Azazel, and point out its situation. For what a certain anonymous author mentions in Aben Ezra, that it was Mount Sinai, will never have weight with those who know what vast deserts lay between Jerusalem and Sinai: but a goat was yearly led from that city to Azazel.
LI. The third opinion is of those, who contend that Azazel is the devil: and they will have one of the goats to have fallen to the devil, not as if it were offered to the devil, (for it was devoted to God, and brought before him to the tabernacle) but that, at the will of God, it was exposed to be tormented by the devil. This sentiment is supported by such arguments as these. 1st. It is the received opinion of the Jews, that Azazel is one of the names of the devil, just as Sammael, Azael, and Machazael. In like manner, a Christian poet thus sings against Marcus, the disciple of Valentinus, who was thought to deceive the spectators by his juggling tricks.
Α σοι χόρηγεῖ σὸς πατὴρ Σατὰν αἐὶ,
Διʼ ἀγγελικῆς δυνάμεως Αζαζὴλ ποιεῖν.
Hæc tu ille Satanæ fretus auxilio Patrio
Azazelique mira designas ope.
“Which thy Father Satan ever enables thee to perform by the angelic power of Azazel.” These verses are cited by Epiphanius, Hæres. 34:11. The etymology favours this. For עואזל is עז אשר אזלה, the goat which went away; that is, the creature which kept not its first estate, but revolted from God. Elsewhere in scripture the devils are called שעירים, goats, as Lev. 17:7, 2 Chron. 11:15. Kimchi, in his Lexicon, gives the reason of it: “They are called goats,” says he, “because they appear in the shape of goats to their votaries.” Maimonides in more Nebochim, lib. iii. cap. 46, speaks much to the same purpose. To this may be referred the ancient mythology concerning Pan, Faunus and the Satyrs, who were likewise called goats. Since then devils have indisputably been called goats elsewhere, why may not the devil here likewise be emblematically signified by Azazel, that is, “the goat, which went away?” Or as Ben Nachman speaks, “the prince who rules in desert places?”
LII. The fourth opinion is that of Bochart, who, though he owns he can advance nothing certain on the head, yet offers his conjecture, which is thus: the Arabic verb azala signifies to remove and separate. Which he proves by many instances. And he thinks that Azazel is derived from that, and signifies separation and secession. The goat, therefore, whose lot is to Azazel, to secession, was that which by lot was appointed for retreat, in order to be led into a separate place of the wilderness, which, ver. 22, is called ארץ נזרה “a land cut off or separated.”
LIII. But leaving every one to judge for himself, the third opinion pleases me not a little, because it seems to rest on the firmest grounds, and gives us a discovery of a great mystery: and I scarce see what can be objected to it, unless this one thing, which Bochart advances: namely, that עז and אזל agree not in gender, the former being feminine, the latter masculine; and therefore, says he, the word could not be made up of both. But that reason is of no great weight: for, 1st. In compound names, grammatical analogy is not always regarded: for instance, in the word שמואל, which at full should be שאולמאל, asked of God, the letters א and ו and ל are struck out, and מ is joined with אל by a Shurec, whereas analogically it ought to be joined by a tzere. Instances to this purpose are numerous. 2dly. A change of genders is common among the Hebrews. We have a similar instance in Gen. 30:38, זיחמנה הצאן in the feminine; and ver. 39, ויחמו הצאן, in the masculine. Buxtorf has collected a great many examples to this purpose in his syntax. 3dly. Though עז be feminine in signification, yet it is masculine in termination, as also the plural עזים; and therefore it is no wonder it be joined with a word of a masculine termination; which is also done, Lev. 22:27, עז ני יולד יהוה, where a double masculine is joined to the word עז. But neither is Spenser’s observation to be overlooked, that עואזל may be explained by the strong one going away. For עז, signifies strong. And as the true God is said, Psa. 24:8, to be עזוז ונבור, “strong and mighty;” so also the devil was called Azizos by the Phenicians; and in the Gospel, Luke 11:21, “the strong man.”
LIV. Secondly, it is worth inquiring, what might be signified by Aaron’s laying his hands on the head of the goat: which was not done here only, but also upon other occasions, Lev. 1:4, Lev. 3:2, and Lev. 4:4; and Herodotus says this was likewise in use among the Egyptians, lib. ii. chap. 39. See Outram de Sacrif. lib. i. cap. 15, § 18; and chap. 22, §. 5, seq. Bochart, if I mistake not, has given us the best explication of the reasons of this. 1st. The offerer, by this rite, delivered up the victim to God, and as it were manumitted or released it, professing he gave up all the right he had in that animal, exempted it from his own dominion, and devoted it to the service of God. Just as the Romans formerly held in their hand the slave they were to set at liberty, uttering these words, “I will that this man be free”. 2dly. By this very ceremony, the sinner deprecated the wrath of God, and prayed that it might fall on the head of that victim which he put in his own stead. By this ceremony, therefore, the sins of all Israel were laid on this goat, in order typically to bear them, and carry them away far from Israel.
LV. Thirdly, let us inquire, what is ארץ נזרה, the land of excision, or separation, into which that goat was to be carried. I do not think that any particular place was precisely signified: for it is not credible, when the sacred services were performed at Jerusalem, that the goat was carried to the same place, to which it was carried, when Aaron performed that ceremony for the first time in the wilderness. In general, therefore, it signifies a place remote from the resort of men; אתר צריא, a desolate place, says Jonathan; ארצ לא יתבא, an uninhabited land, according to Onkelos. The Greeks call it γἦν άβατον, wayless or inaccessible. Abarbanel explains it a land of the decree, meaning that country concerning which a decree was made, that the captive Israelites should be sent away thither.
LVI. Fourthly, we may inquire who is that איש עתי fit man, who was to carry away the goat? We meet with the Hebrew word עתי nowhere else. The Greeks render it ἐτοίμος, ready. עת certainly signifies time, the same that the Chaldee זמן. Hence they inferred, that עחי with the Hebrews, is the same with the זמין of the Chaldees, ready, furnished. It would not be improperly rendered Καίριος or ἔυκαιρος, seasonable, opportune. Abarbanel will have it to be איש גדול בומנו ועתו, “a man of great dignity in his age and time,” at least in the application of the type. Whatever there may be in this it is very plain that God appointed no particular order of men for this office. The Rabbins tell us that any one was fit for it, if he were appointed by the High Priest; and that formerly scarce any but a stranger was employed in this service.
LVII. Lastly, we are to inquire what became of that goat at last. The Jewish doctors have a constant tradition, that the priest fastened a piece of scarlet cloth in the shape of a tongue, weighing two shekels, to the head of the scape-goat, which the conductor of the goat, when he was come to the place appointed, divided in two, and fastening one part to the rock, to which he had driven the goat, and the other to the horns of the goat, he pushed the goat down from behind, which falling head-long, was crushed to pieces before it reached half way down the precipice, But Jonathan insists, it was pushed down by some divine power. Moreover, if this scarlet tongue turned white, which they say was generally the case, they looked upon that as a happy omen; and thence conjectured their sins were forgiven; according to that, Isa. 1:18: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” But these things are either false, or doubtless uncertain, which borders upon falsehood. Others, therefore, are of opinion that it was let loose in the wilderness, to feed where it listed: and Bochart proves, that both the ancient Greeks and Romans had animals consecrated to God, which were called ἄφετα ξῶα, animals let loose; and the words of the text favour this, ver. 22: “and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”
LVIII. Let us now search into the mystical meaning of all this. That solemn day represents to us Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven; and principally, our reconciliation with God, in virtue of his satisfaction and intercession. Aaron, we see, performed those sacred rites in linen garments, of less value indeed, yet white and very pure. This was to represent Christ’s humiliation, which was never lower than when he was most engaged in making atonement for our sins; and likewise showed his most holy purity, unstained with the spot of the least sin. In this respect our Lord is certainly greater than Aaron, and all the other High-Priests; because he stood in no need of offering for his own sins, for he had no sins on account of which an offering was necessary, Heb. 7:26, 27. When the Israelites saw Aaron first offering for his own sins, they might thence easily conclude the weakness and unprofitableness of that earthly priesthood. For what real good could that priest do the people, who, by a solemn expiation, publicly declared, that he himself, together with the people, was in the number of the guilty? But our Lord Jesus, having no occasion to offer for himself, gave himself, as it is evident, out of pure love for his people.
LIX. Christ, who is frequently in other places called the lamb, is represented here by the emblem of a goat. For as on account of his meekness, patience, and holiness, he merits to be called the lamb; so on account of our sins, for which, as surety, he undertook, and of his coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, Rom. 8:3, he is typified by the symbol of a vile and wanton goat. That goat was given to Aaron by the people; Christ was given to men by God: yet what he offered, namely, his human nature, he took from men, being raised up by God “from the midst of his brethren,” Deut. 18:15. Christ was bought with thirty pieces of silver, which were taken from the treasury, in order, it seems, to be an expiation for the whole people. Both the goats were presented to the Lord at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Christ willingly presented himself to God, saying, “Lo! I come; I delight to do thy will, O my God,” Psa. 40:7, 8; and his offering was made in the view of the whole church, and at the instigation of those who were the principal men of the tabernacle. The goat, which by lot fell to Jehovah, was slain. But as divine providence alone undoubtedly orders the disposal of the lot, Prov. 16:33, so Christ also was delivered to death by the “determinate counsel of God,” Acts 2:23, Acts 4:28. The slain goat was burnt in the sacred fire: Christ, in like manner, was scorched and burnt, both by the fire of the divine wrath, kindled against our sins, for which he undertook to suffer, and by the flames of his own love for us, and of his zeal for the glory or God. The burning of the flesh and skin of this goat was performed without the camp: Christ also suffered without the gate; and we are likewise to go out to him without the camp, bearing his reproach, Heb. 13:11, 12, 13; namely, we are courageously to bear it, if, for the sake of Christ, we are exposed to lose the advantages of this world. Thus Christ’s humiliation was typified by this goat.
LX. But let us also take a view of a type of his exaltation. Aaron entered into the sanctuary with the blood of the goat, which was given by and for the people. Christ having made an offering for our sins, entered into heaven, and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High,” Heb. 1:3. Aaron entered within the veil with the censer and incense. Christ ascended into heaven, “to appear and intercede there in the presence of God for us,” Heb. 9:24. And there was no entrance possible for Aaron without the blood of the expiatory sacrifice; neither did Christ enter into the holy place without blood; blood, I say, not of goats or bulls, but his own, whereby he obtained eternal redemption for us, Heb. 9:12. Nor is there any other way by which we can enter into the sanctuary, but by the blood of Christ, whereby he hath consecrated for us a new and living way thereto, Heb. 10:19, 20. The veil, which gave way to the priest, who was to represent the atonement made, returned to its former place and use, when he went out again; because an expiation was made for sin, not in reality, but in figure only, Heb. 10:4. But when Christ was to enter into the heavenly sanctuary, the veil not only yielded to him for a time, but was rent by the hand of God, Matt. 27:50, 51, he having obtained a redemption of eternal efficacy and value. The blood of the goat was to be sprinkled on and before the mercy-seat; and so that blood remained in the holy of holies. Christ appears always in heaven with his blood, which is the “blood of sprinkling speaking better things than that of Abel,” Heb. 12:24. Hence it is that John saw before the throne “a lamb standing, as if it had been slain, Rev. 5:6. For though Christ was once dead and liveth for evermore, Rev. 1:18, yet he is represented in heaven as slain, on account of the virtue and efficacy of his death, which is ever fresh. Nor is the intercession of Christ any thing else but a continual representation of his merits and death before his Father. But that an expiation was to be made by blood for the holy place itself, and for the tabernacle of the congregation, signifies, that God’s indwelling in the sinner man cannot be in a holy manner, without the sacrifice and blood of Christ; and that heaven itself would be polluted, if, which is impossible, sinners were to be admitted there without an expiation. Thus Paul affirms, Heb. 9:23, “The heavenly things are purified with better sacrifices.” Not that there is any impurity in heaven, but that it is not consistent with the divine holiness to admit sinners unexpiated by the blood of Christ into the communion or participation of his glory, nor for him to dwell in them. These things concerning the first goat are sufficiently evident.
LXI. There is greater difficulty about the mystery of the scape-goat; concerning which we may modestly propose what we imagine comes nearest the truth, without prejudice to any. And here I find two different opinions among divines, that deserve our consideration. For it is not worth while to trouble ourselves by refuting the opinion of those who, by the scape-goat, understand Barabbas or Antichrist; though Cornelius a Lapide ridiculously says, that such speak more distinctly and pertinently than others concerning this figurative representation. But some learned men think that, by the scape-goat, the rebellious Jews were prefigured: others will have it to be a type of Christ.
LXII. The former speak to this purpose: Whereas the sending the goat away into the wilderness was done after the purification of the tabernacle, and it did not fall into the Lord by lot; so the disobedient people, and not the mediator of the testament, seems to be set forth by the banished goat. For the wicked are called goats, Matt. 25:33. They controverted Christ’s right of access to God. The determination between both was made by a divine lot. Christ, by his blood, was introduced into the heavenly sanctuary; over the others hung that curse in Deut. 29:21: “And Jehovah shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel.” Are not also the Jews sent away and dispersed among the nations? They are given up to Azazel, or, according to the ancient rabbins, they are fallen as a portion to Sammael (for the serpent may eat the dust, Gen. 3:14.) In a word, they are given up to the power of the devil. “And how justly the vessels of wrath are said to bear the sins of the faithful people is evident. For though there is no procuring cause of justification in them, yet in them the severity of God is seen; thus all the blood shed from the beginning of the world, and so every sin, at any time committed, is avenged. For they who refuse to confess their own sins, in order to submit to the justice of God, make the sins of all others their own.” What is said of the goat to be sent away, namely, its being “to be presented before the Lord to make an atonement,” signifies, that they also, as sanctified in the root, “are presented to God by Christ the Priest,” that even from them may arise a “holy seed.” Isa. 6:13, and children of the promise. In a word, that the time shall come when all Israel shall be saved, and at last be expiated by Christ the Priest, Rom. 11:26, 27.
LXIII. It always did and still does appear strange to me, after the closest and most solicitous meditation, that learned men could seriously give in to such idle imaginations; than which I apprehend nothing could be spoken more foreign to the mystery of this ceremony; because it is altogether inconsistent with the end and sacred intention of this day. For who can think it probable, that, on the solemn day of propitiation, which was set apart for making an atonement for all the sins of the whole people, the rejection of the same people should be so solemnly inculcated by an anniversary symbol? The whole people fast, afflict their souls, confess their sins, pray for the forgiveness of them: the High-Priest is wholly taken up in procuring an expiation: God promises to “the whole congregation of Israel, Ye shall be cleansed from all your sins before Jehovah.” Can we believe, that, at the same time, and by the very same sacred rites, the High-Priest and the believers among the people, should be commanded to lay their sins by direful ceremonies on the goat, representing the far greatest part of their brethren according to the flesh, in order to be punished in them, by a most severe instance of a divine curse; the like to which was never afterwards seen among men. I allow, that the punishment of the rebellious Israelites was foretold in awful prophecies; nor would I deny that there were some Mosaic institutions which prefigured that punishment. But at that time when the typical expiation of all Israel from all their sins was to be procured by those rites, it appears to me of all things the most improbable, that, at the same time, and by the very same ceremonies, the dreadful curse of God for the sins of all, which could not be separated from the imposition of sin, was represented as resting on the greatest part of Israel, and that according to the imprecation of the expiating Priest, and of believers who prayed for expiation. I know, it is said, that “the godly, who were mixed with the ungodly among this people, might have the consolation of beholding, on this day, a sign or token of their happier lot beyond the disobedient.” But none, I imagine, will deny, that even this consideration must have yielded the greatest grief, which would have been an exceeding damp to the joy they had conceived for the pardon of their sins; and that the pious woul rather intercede in behalf of the perishing, than lay their own sins upon them with an imprecation. Certainly, Jesus himself deplored, with bitter tears, the impending destruction of the abandoned city. And Paul calls not only his conscience, but also Christ and the Holy Spirit to witness, that he had great grief and continual anguish of heart, whenever he reflected on the deplorable state of his brethren, according to the flesh; and was so far from wishing to make them a curse for himself, by the imposition of his sins, that he rather wished himself separated from Christ to become a curse for them, Rom. 9:1, 2, 3.
LXIV. Moreover, as the interpretation we are now examining, is foreign to the end and intention of that day, so almost all the ceremonies that were then used, strongly dissuade us from it. 1st, Aaron was commanded to receive both goats from the congregation of the children of Israel, and that for sin, that is, to expiate and take away sin, ver. 5. “But the goat, which was given by the people, shows that what was from them is offered for them;” as these learned men themselves speak very justly. If that be true of the one goat, why may it not be said of the other, even that it represented its being from the people, in order to take away sin? For so far both are on a level. Both being from the people, both bought at the common expence, both of them for sin; thus far there was no distinction in the types. What can then constrain us to imagine, there was so great difference in the signification? Is it consonant to reason, that what was appointed to represent their eternal curse, was bought at their expense, that is, with their consent and approbation? And was the rebellious nation of the Jews given to the rest for sin, that in this respect, they might be joined together with the Lord Christ? Be it far, says the learned person, they should thus be joined along with Christ, “for whose honour we are too much concerned, to speak so impertinently.” We are thankful to God, that he speaks so far piously. But he denies, that one of the goats was taken for sin. He says, “that is asserted of both which is true only of one. Before the lot distinguished them, that could be affirmed collectively of both, which after the lot was to be the case only of one.” But I think, we are by no means to depart from the plain meaning of the words; nor to understand only of one, what is affirmed of both. Though we are to understand with some difference, what the following words of the law intimate, namely, both goats were for sin, which the law expressly affirms; yet with this difference, the one was sin, because it was slain for sin; the other, because by bearing the sins of the people it took them away. To sum up all in a word, the whole of this sacred expiation consisted of two parts; first, the slaying the one goat, whose blood was shed to expiate the sins of the people; and then the sending away the other goat, which took away the sins which were laid upon it, by virtue of the sacrifice just offered. Both therefore concurred in their place and order to the solemn atonement.
LXV. 2dly, Aaron was commanded to present both before Jehovah, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, ver. 7. By which both were declared to be equally devoted to God. Without all controversy Aaron is here a figure of Christ as priest; the goat to be slain signified Christ as the sacrifice. For he presented himself to God, when “he went up to Jerusalem, that all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man might be accomplished,” Luke 18:31. But how did our High Priest, when he was about to make an atonement, at the same time present before God the rebellious Jews, who were to be given up to the devil? To say that they were presented before God, so far as they were sanctified in the root, and were to be the fathers of the sons of the promise, is quite from the purpose. For, the rebellious Jews consigned to the devil, are to be wholly distinguished from the holy root, from which those degenerate branches took their rise, and from the children of the promise who were to descend from them, in their appointed time. These certainly the priest daily presented to God in the names of the twelve tribes, which he wore on his breast; the very same he also now presented to God, though without that symbol. But it cannot be explained, how the high priest when making atonement, could present those to God, if by this goat they were represented as the portion of the serpent.
LXVI. 3dly, After both the goats, which were purchased for God at the common expense of the whole people, were consecrated to God, by bringing them before Jehovah, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, Aaron was commanded to find out by lot, which was for Jehovah and which for Azazel, because this was unknown both to the people, and the priest, till the lot determined it. But it scarce admits of a favourable meaning, if that which fell to Azazel, was the figure of the rebellious Jews. For that sortition, or decision by lot, must be referred either to the figure, or to the thing represented. That it cannot to the thing represented is plain; for the Israelites neither ought, nor could have any doubt, which should fall to the devil, Christ, or the rebellious Jews, so there was no need to make a trial of it by lot. What pious ears would not be offended to hear any person assert, that the high-priest, at the command of God, cast lots between Christ and the rebellious Jews, whether he or they should be offered to the Lord? I imagine none will contend with me on this point. Though the wicked Jews had a controversy with Christ concerning the priesthood, yet it was not proper for that to be decided by lot, but, as was really done, by a demonstration from the Sacred Writings. It therefore follows, that the casting of lots here regarded the goats themselves, since it was unknown what each of them was to prefigure. Moreover, as both were purchased at the common expense for the benefit of the whole people of Israel, and consecrated to the service of God, neither the one nor the other seems adapted symbolically to represent those who were to be given up to the devil. For, though the goat fell by lot to Azazel, yet it ceased not to be the Lord’s. The very learned Frismuthus speaks to the purpose, de hirco Emissar. Dissert. ii. § 14: “We must not think that the former goat alone was consecrated to God; for as both were usually presented before him, it is evident that the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel was also the Lord’s, as even R. Nachman has granted. But that the one on which the lot fell for the Lord, did peculiarly and by special right become the Lord’s, was because it was slain upon the altar. Such a sacrifice offered in honour of God is called, in the Hebrew phraseology, the bread of God, (Lev. 21:6.) Which appellation could not be given to the other that was to be sent to Azazel, it being appointed to be separated from the flock, and carried to remote places to be exposed, perhaps, to the teeth of wild beasts.” The goat therefore, which is, and in the whole ceremony remains, consecrated to God, seems not adapted to be allotted for a symbol of those, who, on all accounts, were to be the slaves of the devil.
LXVII. 4thly, A strong argument may be taken likewise from the imposition of the hands of the priest, and of the sins of Israel, with those prayers of the high-priest and applause of the people, we mentioned sect. xlviii. which are very easily applied to Christ, when he bore, according to his own and his Father’s will, and the wishes of all the godly, the sins of the whole mystical Israel. And if any thing was to be represented to the Jews on the day of expiation, certainly this was the thing which is the alone foundation of a true expiation. But with great difficultly, nay, indeed in my judgment, on no account can that which is signified in the sacred ceremonies, by the imposition of hands and of sins, be referred to the rebellious Jews, whom the faithful Israelites never constituted to stand in their room and stead. Do they, the most abandoned of mankind, “who please not God, and are contrary to all men,” 1 Thess. 2:15, bear the iniquities of all Israel, laid upon them by the priest, into an uninhabited land, carrying them far away from Israel? Why do we yield so much to that most pestilent sect the Socinians, as to try to overturn an argument for the satisfaction of Christ, hitherto happily defended from this rite, by this extravagant fiction.
LXVIII. In fine, who can digest so hard a saying? “It appears, how justly the vessels of wrath may be said to bear the sins of the faithful.” Which of the prophets or apostles ever said so? Is this to speak with the Scriptures? Who has to this day ever heard, that “those make all the sins of all men their own, who refuse to confess their own? or, that “all the sins ever committed are avenged on the rebellious Jews?” This is an imputation of sin, altogether new and unknown in the schools of divines. Certainly, our modesty forbids us to dispute against that right of God, whereby he punishes the sins of parents in their children and posterity, which he himself, such is his clemency, usually confines to the third and fourth generation of those that hate him. Nor is it lawful for us to deny, that the severity of God’s anger may at times burn to a farther degree, if the sins are above measure atrocious; and posterity shall, for a long series, not only equal, but even exceed their ancestors in wickedness. God was pleased to give us an example of this in the wicked Jews, according to that threatening prophecy of Christ, Matt. 23:35, Luke 11:50: “So that from this instance his wrath might be seen, burning from the beginning of the world against hypocrites, enemies of righteousness, and murderers;” as the learned person very well speaks elsewhere. But, that “all the sins of all men are punished in some one person or people,” I do not remember that I ever read or heard till now; neither that “the wicked bear the sins of the faithful.” I know that when God, in his pathetic language, Isa. 43:3, 4, commends his love towards Israel, he declares, that he gave the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sabeans for their ransom, and other men and people for their life. But, as our Calvin judiciously observes, the prophet borrowed that way of speaking from the common method of men, as if he had said, “the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sabeans, have been substituted for thee, and, as it were, by way of exchange, forced to undergo that destruction which was hanging over thee; for that I might save thee, I have destroyed them; and turned against them the power of the enemy, that was ready to fall upon thee.” Or, to return to the learned person’s own words: “the meaning of that passage is; such is my esteem for thee, that I am to bring to nought the greatest and most flourishing empires of the world in order to relieve and comfort thee.” This certainly is quite different from bearing the sins of the faithful, as was typically done by the goat.
LXIX. It is with joy we learn from Paul, that the time will come when all Israel shall be saved, after the fulness of the Gentiles is come in. But we think, this cannot be inferred from these words, “the scape-goat shall be presented alive before Jehovah לכפר עליו, to make an atonement with it.” The learned persons themselves teach us that על sometimes signifies an instrument, as Gen. 27:40, Deut. 13:3. And why not here? That the meaning should be, to make an atonement with or by it. We shall presently show how this was done by the live goat.
LXX. Others therefore, and, if I can form any judgment, to better purpose affirm, that this scape-goat, no less than that which was killed, was a type of Christ. But these again run into different sentiments. Some maintain, that here are represented the two natures of Christ; the human to be exposed to misery and torment; the other the divine, as being impassible, to remain free and to live for ever; which Cornelius a Lapide relates, was the opinion of Theodoret, Hesychius, and Cyril. Others say, that the twofold state of Christ, before and after his resurrection, was here set forth. Thus the slain goat was the type of Christ, lifted upon the cross; but that sent away alive, of the same Christ raised from the dead, and living for evermore. Of this opinion, after Augustine and Procopius, were Bochart and other celebrated divines. Yet two things seem very much to oppose this sentiment: 1st, That the sins of Israel were laid upon the live goat; but Christ rose from the dead, and entered into glory “without sin,” Heb. 9:28. 2dly, That the same goat, as loaded with sin, was accounted unclean, so that the person who conveyed it into the wilderness stood in need of cleansing, ver. 26. But no uncleanness can so much as be conceived to be in Christ after his resurrection.
LXXI. Others, therefore, to whom I readily yield, imagine that a twofold relation of Christ the mediator is signified; the one to God the judge, to whom satisfaction was to be made by the merit of his death; the other to the devil his enemy, with whom he was to encounter by the efficacy of his life. With respect to the former, the goat to be slain, fell to God: in the latter respect, the live goat, fell to Azazel. Let us add, that, in the slain goat, a true expiation of sin was represented, which is performed by shedding of blood and undergoing punishment; but in the other, the effect of this expiation, namely, the removing and taking away of sin by the bearing it away so far as never to come into the sight of God against us. And this seems to be the reason of the order, why, after slaying the former goat, sins were laid on the other to be carried a great way off. Because there could be no taking away of sin without shedding of blood. Both, indeed, were done in the ordinary sacrifices: but because the latter was not so evident in the other sacrifices, God was pleased to set it forth by a peculiar symbol in this solemn festival, for the greater consolation of his people. And thus the riches of the divine goodness and wisdom manifestly appear, when he laid before the eyes of his people, by different types, all the relations of Christ the redeemer, which could not be distinctly exhibited in one single piece or picture.
LXXII. But let us more distinctly illustrate the anology. 1st, The sins of Israel were laid on this goat that he might bear them. Christ truly bears, and by bearing takes away the sins of the whole world. And as Aaron laid both his hands on the head of the goat, so the hand of God lay very heavy and grievous on our surety. 2dly, This goat was appointed by lot for Azazel: not that this brute creature, which was consecrated to God, might be offered to the evil spirit, but exposed to be tormented by the devil, who very much resides in solitary places, Matt. 12:43. Now the first promise shows, that Christ also, by the divine will, was to be given up to the serpent, who deceived Eve; Gen. 3:15, “thou shalt bruise his heel.” And Christ himself says, John 14:30, 31, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me, but that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” That is, “the devil, indeed, has no right in me, who am perfectly holy, nor, as I am holy, can he ever prevail against me; yet he is come out to combat with me, to vex and even to slay me, because I have interposed in the room of those who deserve death. But I go out cheerfully to meet him; to the end my obedience and love to my Father may appear to all the world.” 3dly, The goat was to be sent to a wilderness, and a land not inhabited; and such was the whole world, such, above all, was Judea, when Christ came to suffer there. Scarce any harvest of faith, truth, and piety was to be found there; nothing but unfruitfulness; every where the thistle and prickly thorn arose. And why may we not apply to this what Matthew relates concerning Christ, when he was carried by the Spirit into the wilderness, there to be tempted by the devil? Matt. 4:1. For the wilderness, into which the goat was driven, could not less typify the wilderness in which Christ was tempted, than the wood on which the serpent was raised typified the wood on which Christ was lifted up. 4thly, The hand of a fit man, by which the goat was sent away (which, by a constant tradition of the Jews, might be done as well by a stranger as by an Israelite), seems to denote the power of those who rose up against Christ, namely, “the Gentiles and people of Israel,” Acts. 4:27; and above all, Pilate, who had caused Christ to be carried without the gate, loaded with the cross, the symbol of a curse, when he was to encounter with the devil for the last time.
LXXIII. I acknowledge I have learned these things partly from Turretin,* partly from Cocceius himself; the former explains this opinion in a large discourse, and with cogency and success defends the argument deduced from it, for the satisfaction of Christ against the Socinians, de Verit. Satisfact. Christi, p. 3. §. 22, 23. But the words of the latter, in Comment. ad Heb. c. ix. §. 25, seq., as far at least as they are to our purpose, very well deserve to be inserted here. He says, “It is evident, from Ezek. 20:35, that Christ was to come to Israel, when Israel was, as it were, in the wilderness, but that was, when Judea was a Roman province, and had a Roman governor; for then it was a part of the wilderness of the people. And it is plain enough that, by the dragon, Rev. 12, is represented the Roman people. He made himself ready to devour Christ as soon as he was born. Moreover, the first promise declares, Gen. 3:17, ‘That Christ was to be given up into the hands of the devil, who deceived Eve, under the appearance of a serpent. The Jews ascribe this to Sammael.’ As, therefore, the slaying of the one goat represents the death of Christ, and the shedding of his blood: ‘So the sending away of the other goat into a place uncultivated and desert, denotes the delivering of Christ into the hands of the devil, who has the power of death, in order to vex and disquiet him; and that by the hands of sinners, and of such men to whom the land was subject, like the rest of the wilderness of the people, and a part thereof. That this was done by the appointment and will of God, Christ himself declares,’ John 14:30, 31. As if he should say, the prince of this world, who has nothing in me, is come to exercise his cruelty upon me; which will happen to the end, that my obedience may appear to the world. We have, therefore, a figure of a twofold delivering up of Christ. First, of that by which he delivered up himself, as Priest. Secondly, of that by which he was given up into the hands of sinners, or the Gentiles.” Thus far Cocceius. To the like purpose, the very learned Momma, Œconom. Temp. t. i. lib. 2. c. 11. §. 36, seq. Where after explaining the same opinion with neatness and elegance, and proving it from Scripture, he then subjoins: “We might rest contented with these things, and proceed to others.” Let, therefore, none be offended, that being satisfied with these things, which exhibit a doctrine sound and certain, I pass over other things, in which I find neither that soundness nor that certainty.
LXXIV. Very lately were published the Varia Sacra of the very famous John Van der Waeyen, in which are two dissertations concerning the goat Azazel; the former of which is principally levelled at me. But I would neither have my reader, nor the illustrious author ignorant, how much I have profited by the perusal of that dissertation. By it I was really brought under a kind of necessity, to consider more accurately the whole of this subject; which I have also endeavoured to do with a mind so free from, and divested of all prejudices, as if I had never written any thing on the point before. Nor do I conceal, that from thence I had an opportunity to explain some things more clearly, others also more distinctly, and to set a keener edge on my arguments than I had done in the former editions of this book. On that account, therefore, if he will accept of it, I return him my thanks. But then he must suffer me to say, that I have hot found reasons cogent enough in his dissertation to render his opinion more probable, or mine less so. While he opposes my sentiment, and seems to charge it with many inconveniencies, he opposes what Dr. Cocceius himself has dexterously explained, and confirmed by Scripture testimonies, and, as far as I know, never condemned or disapproved, though he superadded another opinion. But I could never yet think it probable, that one and the same ceremony should signify things so very remote from one another. As for my particular, I leave the entire decision of this controversy with the equitable reader; who, if he is not wiser than us both, may profit by our writings. But as to the manner in which the illustrious person manages the dispute, I imagine I have very weighty grounds of complaint. Whoever happens to enter the lists with him, contends, indeed, on unequal terms. While he thinks he may say what he will against others, he gives no quarter to any expression of his opponent, if it has but the least appearance of harshness in it; and assuming to himself what is the prerogative of God alone, canvasses not only the heart and inmost principles of the thoughts, but also boldly pronounces what sentence upon them he thinks proper. Indeed, I should appear ridiculous, was I seriously to ward off from myself the grudge conceived against Cocceius, as the origin and the cause of this dissention. Every page in my book shows my esteem for that celebrated person. And though I cannot assent to him in every particular with an implicit faith, yet I never once dreamed of charging him with heresy: much less in this controversy, where the dispute is not so much about a doctrinal point, as about the mystical signification of some Mosaic institutions, without any detriment to our common faith. In which kind of subjects, if I may not be allowed by John Van der Waeyen the liberty to dissent, in what, pray, shall I be allowed it? But I will suffer no mortal ever to deprive me of this liberty. But, good sir, whenever I am to dispute, I desire my method of writing may be as different from yours as possible. While your language breathes nothing but harshness, mine shall be all mildness. As in this dispute I have struck out every word that had but the least tendency to harshness, and substituted softer. And let this suffice, by way of specimen, concerning the types.