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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 



 

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 1-1000

070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World

 


1000-2006

FUTURIST
HISTORICAL
MODERN

1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING

 

A Historical Interpretation
and Revaluation of the Idea
of the Second Advent
 

BY

CHESTER CHARLTON McCOWN, Ph.D., D.D.
 Professor or New Testament Literature In
Pacific School Of Religion

1921


CLICK HERE FOR PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK


PEEFACE

Two things have been undertaken in the following pages. First the obscure origin and the slow and uncertain development of the Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian hope of a better world have been set forth. The sources of certain particular phases of the premillennial view have been indicated, but to attempt this with any approach to completeness would have required too much space.

This historical survey secures a proper basis of operations for the second part of the task, the attempt to indicate and reinterpret the fundamental social and religious values of the Christian hope of the second coming of Christ. I have long felt that large numbers of modern Christians did not properly estimate the historical influence or present importance of Premillennialism, or, to use a still more pedantic term, apocalypticism. Until a historical interpretation and revaluation of this complex of ideas is accepted in the churches they will be at a great strategic disadvantage in meeting the attacks of unbelief. The Premillennialist is tactically in a position much superior to other Christians who have a merely negative view on the subject, for he has a perfectly definite and clearcut plan of campaign.

Large areas of biblical and subsequent Christian literature are valueless to the average churchmember, because of their strange eschatological growths and forbidding apocalyptic colorings. From these fields the Adventist and Premillennialist reap rich harvests. They will yield even more abundantly to a cultivation which does not misuse them. Experience has convinced me that only the historical interpretation of these passages can bring out their inherent values.

The inevitable difficulties of the task must be frankly recognized. The average earnest Christian will probably find that the premillennial point of view seems simpler and more fruitful. Superficially it is so. It is easy to understand and it fits many of the facts of experience, enough to give it the appearance of plausibility. The arguments for the views herein supported may seem to some abstract and abstruse, just as the evidences used to prove that the world is round and turns upon its axis appear far-fetched to the untutored savage. The chief difficulty, however, is that the doctrines of the inspiration of the Scriptures and the divinity of Christ are involved. Naive and unreasoned views on these subjects are the great barriers to intelligent use of the Scriptures. Lingering reminiscences of the doctrine of verbal inspiration still affect the interpretation of many who have ostensibly repudiated it. But the crucial question is the attitude of Jesus toward apocalyptic doctrine. His faith and teaching on the subject, as it may be determined by scientific historical study, determine our estimate of his character and person. The current estimates of both liberal and conservative now stand in need of revision in the light of the progress which this study has made. I have tried briefly to indicate the direction which this revision must take.

It will be plain at once to the reader that I have not written for the scholar. I have tried to present views that will stand the test of scholarly investigation, but with as little of technical language as the subject permitted. I have quoted freely from the Jewish and Christian sources, in order that the reader who does not have access to the originals or their published translations may have the basis for the views adopted plainly set forth for his own judgment. I have wished to promote independent thinking on the part of laymen and ministers as well as students. The footnotes and bibliography have been intended to point the way to further study, as well as partially to acknowledge the writer's indebtedness. My thanks are due Dr. Doremus Scudder for permission to use his poem "Where is your. Lord ?" quoted on pp. 220 f. and to various publishers: to Messrs. Thomas Nelson and Sons for the Old Testament texts quoted in Chapters II-IV from the American Standard Version; to the Oxford University Press for quotations in Chapter V from Charles, Apocrypha and Pscudepigrapha of the Old Testament; and to the G. H. Doran Company for the use of Moffatt's New Translation of the New Testament in Chapters VI-VII.

These chapters had their inception during the recent war. Most of the material was used more than once in popular lectures and has not been substantially altered. I hope it will prove to have more than war-time value. The subject at least is of perennial interest.

C. C. McCown. Berkeley, California,

August 15, 1921.

 

Chapter IV. New Problems And New

Solutions . 89-109

See. I. Disappointed hopes: politics and apocalypticism; the repeated failures of apocalyptic expectations led to Pharisaic quietis and Sadducean indifference; hostility of officials and apocalyptists; supremacy of Zelotic apocalypticism A. D. 66-135 89-96

Sec. II. The effect of their religious development upon the hopes of the Jews: the development of the canon and of the doctrine of inspiration; reactions to foreign influences 97-101

Sec. III. Jewish visions and revelations: anonymous, or pseudonymous; "apocalyptic". 101-10-3

Sec. IV. Rise and development of apocalyptic literature: character of apocalyptic visions; four periods and their literature: Ezekiel to the Maccabees; the Maccabean period; the Pharisaic period; the Zelotic period 103-109

Chapter V. A Counsel Of Despair 110-139

Sec. I. The chief ideas of apocalypticism: evils preceding the end; the day of judgment; a cosmic catastrophe; war in heaven; overthrow of the mighty; revelations of secrets; vindication of the righteous; a divine, or messianic kingdom; various ideas of the messiah, Levitic, Davidic, human but sinless, angelic - the Son of Man; the resurrection 110-130

Sec. II. The basic principles of apocalypticism: its philosophy of history, pessimistic, deterministic, externalistic, literalistic, universalistic, idealistic 130-136

Sec. III. The general character of apocalypticism: compared with prophecy; its course of development; its complexities and inconsistencies 136-139

Chapter VI. The Kingdom At Hand 140-166

Sec. I. The religious situation in Jesus' day: the many parties; Jewish orthodoxy; apocalypticism the chief heterodoxy; its attractiveness for the people 140-144

Sec. II. Jesus and the prophets: Jesus' religious and political problem; the heterodoxy of Jesus not thorough-going apocalypticism; his worldview; his conception of the kingdom; indicated in his Temptation; his evaluation of suffering 144-153

Sec. III. The apocalyptic element in the teaching of Jesus: apocalypticism the dominant category in Jewish social thinking; its prominence in Jesus' teaching; the elimination of the Markan apocalypse; summary of Jesus' apocalyptic teaching 153-158

Sec. IV. The meaning of Jesus' apocalyptic language: various methods of interpretation; not to be explained away; apocalypticism the only adequate existing category to describe his unique task and to express his divine self-consciousness, his faith in God, his chosen method, his sense of urgency; literal, figurative, or symbolic ? two contradictory elements 158-166

Chapter VII. A Living And Blessed Hope. .167-191

See. I. The primitive apostolic faith: its deep apocalyptic coloring; its peculiarities; the "second advent" the keystone to their faith; Acts; Paul, I. Th., II Th., postponement, I Co., later letters, summary; I Pt.. .167-177

Sec. II. The Judean crisis: the Markan "fly-sheet"; the fall of Jerusalem to be the end of the world; Matthew, distinguishes the fall of the city and the end, heightens the apocalyptic coloring; inconsistencies 177-182

Sec. III. The Domitianic crisis: the Revelation, a Christian adaptation and systematization of Jewish apocalyptic 182-18'i

Sec. IV. The second generation: apocalypticism becomes dogma rather than faith; I Clement; Hebrews; James; the Pastorals; Jude and II Peter; the Didache 185-191

Chapter VIII. Three Millenniums Of Waiting 192-202

Sec. I. The millennium of biblical history: the development of Jewish apocalyptic; Christianity apocalyptic and prophetic, heterodox and enthusiastic, not uniform and consistent except measurably in the Revelation 192-194

Sec. II. The millenarian system; its historical representatives; matters of disagreement; points of agreement 194-197

Sec. III. Objections to Premillennialism: its origin; falsified by history; literalism; dualism; otherworldliness 197-200

Sec. IV. Other theories: Postmillennialism unsatisfactory; the resurrection and spectacular judgment; individualistic interpretation 200-202


Chapter IX. The Second Advent 203-222

Sec. I. The modern Christian's dilemma: a fundamental doctrine neglected or scorned; a fundamental human hope in question; the Bible in the balance 203-20T

Sec. II. A social-spiritual interpretation: the social and spiritual emphasis of Jesus; the Johannine interpretation of the second advent as spiritual; John 14-16 versus Mark 13; a present judgment; the messianic victory present and progressive; its social fruits; the "social Gospel" of Luke; its version of the Markan apocalypse; its prophetic spirit 207-214

Sec. III. The values of Premillennialism conserved in the social-spiritual view: apocalypticism a "pedagogue," its driving power, tension; the fundamental motives of the social-spiritual view, communion with Christ, present judgment, present vindication of  righteousness, social progress, the catastrophic element in evolution, the signs of the- times, sub specie aeternitatis, tension, faith 2.15-234

HISTORICAL TABLE OF APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE 235-238

INDEX OF PASSAGES CITED 239-247

GENERAL INDEX 249-256

THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING

CHAPTER IV
NEW PEOBLEMS AND NEW SOLUTIONS
 

I. Disappointed Hopes: Politics And
Apocalypticism
 

THEIR history during the six centuries following the Exile brought out the prophetic spirits in Judaism1 a constant succession of new problems. The situation at the end of the Exile made for the dreaming of dreams. Just as men expected a new era after the Napoleonic wars,2 just as during the latter years of the great war now at an end we looked forward to a glorious period of reconstruction, so the faithful remnants of the true worshippers of Yahweh who outlived the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation to Babylon looked for a restoration after "seventy years," which should more than compensate for all they had suffered.3

Ezekiel is to proclaim to the people,

"Thus saith the Lord Yahweh: ... I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own. land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. . . . And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. . . . And I will call for the grain, and

1 The term "Judaism" is used to distinguish the postexilic civilization of the race, and Hebrew for the preexilic. ' See above, p. 4 f. •See Jer. 25:11 f.; 29:10; Is. 23:15, 17.

will multiply it. ... And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations."1

More than that, as the "suffering servant" of Yahweh, Israel had borne the griefs and carried the sorrows of the world. Now God will divide her a portion with the great, and she shall divide the spoil with the strong. She will not fail nor be discouraged till she have set justice in the earth, and the isles shall wait for her law.2 Such was the glorious vision of world-wide service which God put into the heart of the Great Unknown, the most "evangelical" of the Old Testament prophets. The overthrow and humiliation of her archenemy Babylon, prophesied in Is. 13, 14 and Jer. 50, 51 as Cyrus began his victorious career, seemed to promise a new era. These political disturbances could bring onlj advantage and enlargement to the little nations suffering under the heel of Babylonian oppression. As Assyria and Babylonia had come "out of the north" to punish Israel for her sins, so Persia came to restore her, now purified by suffering, to her rightful position of leadership.

How miserably the little community in Judea after the Return failed to realize these magnificent ideals! We cannot understand the development of Jewish expectations of the coming of the messianic kingdom without observing the effect upon it of the nation's political fortunes. T'he whole period from the Return in 538 B. 0. to the rebellion of Bar-Cochba in 135 A. D. may be best understood as a succession of disappointed hopes. The expectations of the returning exiles, which had probably been moulded by Ezekiel's elaborate theocratic Utopia, may be seen clearly reflected in Second Isaiah. Twenty years later, as Haggai and Zechariah show us, these expectations had not been at all realized, yet, on the occasion of the disturbances which closed Cambyses' reign, they blaze up again as ardent as before. Even the Temple had not been rebuilt.1 Yet these prophets are animated by a new hope : Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judea, are two anointed ones under whom the glories of David's kingdom are to be revived.2 Did the heavy hand of a Persian satrap crush these ambitions before they blossomed? We do not know, but Malachi, Ezra, and Nehemiah show how far they came from realization. Ezra and Nehemiah introduced the Law, hoping thereby to prepare Israel for her glorious mission ; but again there came no transformation in the outward conditions of the nation. How often during the next two hundred and fifty years the national hopes flamed up, history has not recorded. Probably each generation could tell its tale of uprisings.

1Ez. 36:22-31. 'la. 63:4, 12; 42:4.

Yet, outwardly, there never came a time, from the Return in 538 to the Maccabean uprising in 168 B. C., when any ambitious expectation on the part of the Jews would seem to have been justified. The city was small and without military, commercial, or political importance. In spite of the fact that, much of the time, civil and ecclesiastical power centered in the high priest as the head of the nation and its representative in all foreign affairs, the Temple was insignificant and unattractive, the worship of Yahweh frequently neglected, and the pious Jews who kept the Law were few, and had to suffer, not only' from the heathen round about, but also from the rich and powerful among their compatriots, who were usually ungodly.

This inglorious period was brought to a close by the efforts of Antiochus Epiphanes, their Syrian over-lord, to blot out the Jewish racial and religious distinctiveness. His persecutions brought about the revolt of the priest Mattathias and his three sons, Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan, and Simon, whose sufferings and exploits constitute this period one of the most glorious in the whole history of the race. Simon's son, John Hyrcanus, was hailed by enthusiastic admirers as prophet, priest, and king, and thus combining all the highest of the age-long ideals of his people.1 To many it appeared that the sufferings of the pious in the persecutions of Antiochus and the wars for freedom had actually fulfilled the ancient prophecies of the woes of the day of Yahweh, and that now the new age had begun. But the next two generations of the dynasty showed such unendurable cruelty and despotism, or such puerile weakness, that its representatives were hailed as monsters that devoured the people.2 Their reigns seemed to be ushering in the last woes rather than the messianic age, for they persecuted and slaughtered the righteous Pharisees. When, at length, their jealousies and quarrels and incapacity brought about the Roman conquest and the rule of the Idumean Antipater and his son Herod, the execration of the pious knew no bounds. No effort to realize the national hopes could have begun more splendidly, none could have failed more ignominiously. With the Maccabean fiasco in mind, it is easy to appreciate the situation of official Judaism in Jesus' day. After such a lesson no pious and thoughtful Jew could expect the kingdom of God to come by military or political measures. The logic of events, the bitterness of repeated disappointments, drove them for an hundred years to complete distrust of human efforts. If the kingdom of God was to be realized on earth, it must be by some entirely supernatural interference with the course of history. Belonging mainly to the middle and upper classes of society

r, Jewish Theology (New York, 1918), p. 373, refers Ps. 80: 15 f.; 74 ( ?) ; 89:40-46, to this time of disappointment. •Hag. 2:1-9, 20-23; Zech. 3-4: 6:9-15; see Kent, Makers and Teachers of Judaism ("Historical Bible," New York, 1911), pp. 50 f.

'Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs; Levi, 8:11-15; 18:2-13; Josephus, Antiquities, xiii 10, 7; War i 2, 8; Charles, Book of Jubilees, p. 187.

"lest. XII Patr., Judah 21:7; 22:1 f.

and being therefore fairly comfortable, the Pharisees did not feel keenly the pressure of political oppression and social injustice. It is a significant fact that no reference to the kingdom of God has been handed down from any Jewish rabbi of the time of Jesus. They were interested in the law, not in the coming of a new day. The Sadducee, likewise, was satisfied with the status quo, just as is the modern politician, so long as nothing interferes with his perquisites. As is usually the case, it was among the lower-middle and under classes that the sense of social wrongs and the passion for reform made itself felt.

It was most natural that the longing for social justice should find its means of expression in the apocalyptic movement. The prophets had proclaimed the coming of the terrible day of Yahweh to punish the nation for its sins against the poor and the needy, the widow and the fatherless.1 All through the dark days after the Exile the pious had suffered from the oppression, not merely of their heathen neighbors, but also, and perhaps more bitterly, from their own unscrupulous fellow-countrymen. Again and again in the Psalms they voice their complaint and cry to Yahweh for relief.

"Why standest thou afar off, 0 Yahweh?
Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
In the pride of the wicked the poor is hotly pursued.
 

He sitteth in the lurking-places of the villages;
In the secret places doth he murder the innocent.
 

He lieth in wait to catch the poor.

And the helpless fall by his strong ones.

Arise, 0 Yahweh; 0 God, lift up thy hand:

Forget not the poor.
Break thou the arm of the wicked.
 

Yahweh, thou hast heard the desire of the meek:
Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine
 

ear to hear;

To judge the fatherless and the oppressed,
That man who is of the earth may 'be terrible no
 

more."1

The Psalms of Solomon, written probably a generation before the birth of Jesus, complain continually of the "sinners" who assail the "righteous" in their insolence, but express the fullest confidence that God cares for the latter and will eventually "raise up unto them their king, the son of David," who will rule in righteousness to the destruction of their enemies and the great good fortune of Israel.2 Likewise the Assumption of Moses, written during the lifetime of Jesus, complains that the rulers of Israel, probably the Sadducees, are "destructive and impious . . . treacherous men, self-pleasers, gluttons, gourmands . . . devourers of the goods of the poor, saying that they do so on the grounds of their justice."3

The apocalyptic movement in Judaism, then, was in opposition to the officials of the nation. The language we have just quoted, as well as the character of their beliefs, shows that the Sadducees had no sympathy with it. Official Pharisaism is also excluded by the nature of its interests4 and by the absence of any evidence of their attention to the matter. It was among the people, suffering under the misgovernment and economic exploitation of their for

1Ps. 10:1-18, accord to Briggs ("Int. Crit. Com.", Psalms I 68 ff.), originally a prayer for rescue from foreign oppressors, of the Persian period. See also Ps. 37; 43; 107:39-42; 109:21-31; 113:5-8; 147:2-6.

1 See especially chap. 17.

•7:1-6.

4 See below, pp. 140 fl.

eign over-lords and Sadducean or Herodian rulers, that fertile soil was found for the development of the spirit of discontent and revolution. As in Latin countries dissatisfaction finds vent in armed revolution, in Eussia in soviet government, in English speaking countries in conventions, resolutions, and elections, so among the Jews the one natural expression was in apocalyptic movements.

Men who are suffering deeply find it hard to wait for God's own good time. They tend to believe that, if they match their prayers with effort, God will the sooner intervene. And so there were among the Jews constantly increasing unrest and numerous popular uprisings under pretended messiahs—the so-called Zelotic movements, always opposed by the Sadducees and Pharisees and put down by Rome with an iron hand. Official Judaism rejected the social question;1 with it they rejected and tried to suppress its chief expression, the apocalyptic movement.

In A. D. 66 the inevitable happened. Pure repression without constructive statesmanship worked its customary result. Goaded by a series of tactless, incompetent, or cruel and rapacious procurators, the people put their theology to the test. The limit of endurance had been reached; God must intervene to save his people. Popular sentiment swept even many of the Pharisees into the great revolt against Rome. It would seem that the terrible defeat which the nation suffered, the destruction of the city and Temple and the cessation of the sacrifices, would have convinced the most bigoted that the political type of messianic hope was entirely mistaken. No doubt many did learn the lesson. Yet a generation later the Jews of the Diaspora rose against Rome—and were savagely punished. Again, after another short generation, under an adventurer who called himself Bar-Cochba, "son of the star," and who was hailed by the great Rabbi Akiba as messiah, there came another Jewish revolt, as bitter and as severely punished as that of 66-70. It was the last, dying gasp; hereafter official Judaism, as represented by the rabbis and the Talmud, gave up political ambitions entirely, dreamed little of the return of the Golden Age, and saw few millennial visions. Suffering, hope, disappointment, these three words, repeated again and again, record the history of Judaism from the Exile to Bar-Cochba. To this period of almost continual suffering, of alternate hope and despair, belong the Jewish visions and revelations that prepared for Jesus' proclamation of the coming kingdom of God.

'L. Wallis, Sociological Sfudy of the Bible (Chicago, 1912), pp. 218 K. This judgment is not touched by the excellent, but meager sayings of Hillel, cp. Kent, Social Teachings of the Prophets and Jesus (New York, 1917), pp. 166ff.; contrast John the Baptist.

Apocalyptic literature is at once the cause and the product of these disappointed hopes. On the one hand it held out the promise of an impossible ideal future, a promise sworn by God himself. The tragic consequences of this hope are seen in the three great Jewish uprisings against Rome and the countless minor ones. On the other hand, these books were the outcome of despair. They were written to hearten a people that was suffering to the limit of endurance, to promise them that their tortures should last but a little longer, to encourage them to hold out to the end, when God would intervene to punish their oppressors and give them all that heart could wish. They come, not out of times of prosperity and peace, but of war and disturbance.1 Some are stormy petrels, omens of coming disaster, others are the vultures that gloat and gorge as the evil passes over the land. Apocalypticism was a counsel of despair.

Such was the relation of political history to the development of apocalypticism. We turn now to study the effect of the religious development of Judaism upon its eschatology. 1 See above, p. 5, quotation from Dewey. ,

II. The Effect Of Theie Religious Development

UPON THE HOPES OF THE JEWS

As to the inner development of Judaism during this period, that is, the development of its moral and religious thinking, the details are obscure, but certain great facts stand out as the arches of the bridge of the centuries. The most significant of these are the canonization of the Law and of the whole Old Testament, and the development of the eschatological hope. Around these two complementary ideas, the Law and the coming kingdom, centers practically all the literature which has been preserved from this period. We are concerned with the literature that has to do with the coming kingdom; but we must note how the canonization of the Law affected both the form and content of apocalyptic literature. '

After a most interesting history, Jewish law crystalized into the form which we find in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible,1 about 450 B. C. Under the priestly influence of Ezra and others like him, with the aid of such lay administrators as Nehemiah and prophets like Malachi, the Law, substantially as we now have it, was forced upon the Jewish communities in Egypt, Babylonia, and Palestine in the latter part of the fifth century before Christ.2 These five books were thought to contain a sufficient and authoritative revelation of the will of God. The one duty of the true Israelite was to study and understand it fully and obey it unreservedly. Therefore scribism gave itself unremittingly to the interpretation and inculcation of the Law, and the Jewish people for the most part accepted the scribes as their religious teachers.1 It was quite a lawyer-like reverence for the small technicalities of law which gave to Pharisaic legalism those characteristics which Jesus so unsparingly criticized. Jewish legalism was fundamentally incapable of grasping the great social and religious ideals of the Prophets and was thus constitutionally, although unwittingly, opposed to the larger hope of the coming kingdom.

1 See the discussions of the Pentateuch or Hexateuch in the Intro

ductions of Driver, McFadyen, Gray, and others.

2 In proof of this we have the accounts of Ezra-Nehemiah, written

a century or so later on the basis of personal memoirs, now remarkably attested by contemporary documents in the Aramic papyri from Elephantine. See Meyer, Das Papyrusfund von Elephantine, (Leipzig, 1912), pp. 67-75, Robinson, ReUg. Ideas of the OT, p. 137, n. 1.

The greater part, and the best part, of the Old Testament was written before the acceptance of the Law under Ezra. During the next three hundred years the remainder was written, and the whole received its present form. During this period also a definite doctrine of inspiration arose. It was generally agreed that "prophecy never came by human impulse, it was when carried away by the holy Spirit that the holy men of God spoke," and that "all scripture is inspired by God."2 It was also generally agreed that God had given his message to the world through the ancient lawgivers and prophets, and that the Spirit no longer spoke to men. The prophetic voice was stilled. So sure is the anonymous writer of Zechariah 13 of this (about 200 B. C.) that he believes that any one who claims to prophesy is a deceiver, and suggests that "his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth."3 About 200 B. C. the prophetic canon was closed. Judaism is no longer a living faith, but a book religion; even Daniel receives new revelations by the study of ancient prophets.4

Accordingly, it was believed that only books which had come down from the ancients, from the times when God still spoke to men, were really inspired. While there was fair unanimity in the opinion that those we now have in the Old Testament belong in this category, there were many other writings, some of them short fugitive pieces, some of them large books, which seemed to many to have equal claim to a place in the sacred literature of the race. On the whole, the Jewish people dealt wisely, though somewhat blindly, with these difficult questions, and we have reason to be grateful that they selected so much, and omitted so little that was good. The most serious error in their principles of selection was this, that only the ancient was believed to be inspired. The inevitable result of this conception of inspiration was that new ideas, as such, were denied a hearing. No one dared to claim to exercise the prophetic gift, or to speak in the name of Yahweh. From Zechariah (B. C. 520) to Jesus there are, I believe, only two pieces of Palestinian Jewish literature the names of whose authors are known: Joel, about whom we know nothing else, and Jesus ben-Sira, whose book never got into the canon. The scribe of these times thus again found himself denied any active participation in the apocalyptic movement, while prophetic spirits would consciously or unconsciously find themselves out of sympathy with scribism and Pharisaism.

1 Charles, Religious Development between the Old and New Testaments (New York, n. d.), pp. 39 f. «ri Pt. 1:21; II Ti. 3:16. •V. 3; cp. I Mac. 4:46; 9:27. •Dan. 9:1 f.

The development of Judaism was profoundly influenced by foreign civilizations. There never had been a time when the nation was completely isolated. But from the time of Ahaz, when it was caught in the maelstrom of world politics, this unique little people had to measure itself continually with the far richer and more imposing arts, sciences, literatures, philosophies, and religions of Babylonia, Persia, Egypt, and Greece. Being so much the poorer, it must borrow heavily and develop its own resources along lines either analogous or antagonistic to the ideas it met. In some instances it took the one attitude, in some the other. From the highly developed demonology, eschatology, and astrology of Babylonia and Persia the Jew borrowed many beliefs and practices, and especially the myths and other forms in which these ex

 

 

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