IN the prophetical writings of the Old Testament we frequently come across such phrases as "The Day of the Lord," "Those days," "That day," "The last days," etc., and around such expressions 1 "there centre certain conceptions and expectations; a brief study of these must be our present task. It is necessary, however, to explain at the outset that it is not with the whole subject of Eschatology in the Old Testament that we propose to deal, but only with those elements which are directly concerned with the purpose in hand, viz.: The antecedents of the Gospel teaching. There are various points in the Eschatological Drama
which only indirectly touch our main subject; these we shall leave aside at present, or, at most, merely allude to in passing.
It will be best for the sake of clearness to deal separately, at least as far as this is possible, with those elements which come into consideration here; they are four in number; to these some points of interest, though of subsidiary importance, will be added later on. These four elements in the Old Testament doctrine of the "last things" are as follows:--
ii. The Advent of Jehovah, the Judge.
iii. The Judgement upon the Wicked.
iv. The Blessedness of the Righteous.
In drawing attention to some of the passages which deal with these, it will clearly be impossible to do so in an exhaustive manner; for, on the one hand, it would become tedious and take up a great deal of space unnecessarily, and, on the other, it would take us too far afield. 1
The earliest mention that we have of the "Day of the Lord" is in the book of Amos for the present we do not enquire as to the reasons why that "Day" was to come about; it is sufficient to say that it heralds the end of things, that it inaugurates a new era, 1 and that certain signs precede the opening of that era. The prophets very frequently connect what they say about this "Day" with the present conditions of the people, or with various historical events; but the underlying principles of their teaching concerning it are unaffected by this; and it is the expression of these underlying principles with which we have to deal.
In Amos v. 16-18, 20, we read as follows: Therefore thus said the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the
streets, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith the Lord. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! Wherefore would ye have the day of the Lord? it is darkness, and not light. . . . Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? See, too, viii. 9, 10. Two points are noticeable here regarding the signs which precede the end; sorrow and lamentation among men, and the terror of darkness in the physical world; the reiteration of this latter phenomenon emphasises the fact of its inspiring fear. In Isa. viii. 21, 22, we have a passage which is eschatological in form and thought, though the immediate context in which it stands has nothing to do with the "last things"; it contains, however, to a large extent, the same notes as those which occur in the Arnos passage: And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold distress
and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away. Although the text is a little ambiguous here in parts, it is clear that we have the same combination of thought, viz., sorrow among men and darkness in the physical world, as was found in the Amos passage, which is unquestionably eschatological. More pointed and much richer in detail is Isa. xiii. 6-16: Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; as destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Therefore shall all hands be feeble, and every heart of man shall melt,. and they shall be dismayed; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of then; they shall be in pain as a woman in travail; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be faces of flame. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. . . . Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. . . . Every
one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is taken shall fall by the sword. Their infants also shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.
It is clear from the context that these words were uttered in reference to historical events, the doom of Babylon being foremost in the prophet's mind; but the eschatological traits contained in the passage had evidently long before this period assumed a stereotyped character, for the same distinguishing marks recur again and again in passages of varied contents and of different ages. That which stands out clearly in the passage before us is the same as in the two other passages already quoted--anguish and sorrow among men, and darkness and other terrifying phenomena in the physical world--only here the words are more striking owing to the wealth of detail. The same thoughts are expressed in a somewhat different way in Isa. xxiv. 23; the preceding verses here tell of the punishment of the proud in the day of the Lord, it then goes on to say: Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion. In Zeph. i. 14-16, the same traits appear, but in this passage,
again, the eschatological ideas are connected with, and adapted to, definite historical events; The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man crieth there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fenced cities, and against the high battlements. The way in which the stereotyped conceptions concerning the "Day of the Lord" are utilised and applied to present conditions is well illustrated in this passage, where the oft-recurring description of the "darkness" of that Day is followed by reference to a siege. But the most striking details concerning the signs of the "Day of the Lord" are to be found in Joel ii. 1 ff.; while we have here a further example of adaptation to present circumstances, the description of eschatological data shows distinct development: Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great and strong people, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth. . . . The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen so do they run. Like the noise of the chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. At their presence the peoples are in anguish: all faces are waxed pale. . . . The earth quaketh before them; the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining: and the Lord uttereth his voice before his army; for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executeth his work; for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? And in verses 30, 31, of the same chapter: And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And, once more, in Joel iii. 15, 16, we find for the third time in a short book the description of
the darkening of the heavenly bodies: The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And the Lord shall roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake. . . . These Joel passages show with great distinctness the way in which eschatological teaching is combined with prophecies about the Jewish nation which are prompted by present historical conditions. It is important to bear the fact of this combination in mind; it is characteristic of the writings of all those prophets who give expression to these eschatological conceptions; and since the prophets attach them to a large variety of different historical conditions belonging to periods far apart from each other, the conclusion is forced upon us that we must recognise in Old Testament Eschatology a body of beliefs which were common property, belonging to no one age, and evidently of very considerable antiquity. How ancient these beliefs were, may be seen from the fact that the expression "Day of the Lord," which according to Hebrew usage sums up and includes the whole cycle of eschatological conceptions, appears as a well-known terminus technicus the first time it occurs in the Old Testament, viz., Amos v. 18.
[paragraph continues] Moreover, there are grounds for believing that the eschatological material presented to us in the Old Testament constituted a body of popular beliefs long current among the people before the prophets took them over and utilised them for the purpose of inculcating higher beliefs. As to the origin of these popular beliefs, this is not the place to discuss the question; 1 it is sufficient for us to note the use made of them by the prophets, for, as far as we are at present concerned, it is the prophetical basis which is our starting-point. Even in the history of eschatological beliefs, as contained in the Old Testament, it is by no means always possible to trace each step in the development of ideas, a fact which seems to indicate that side by side with the prophetic teaching on the subject popular notions also went on developing. An example of this may be seen in the part played by Elijah in the popular conception of later days; nowhere in the Old Testament is there any record as to how it came about that the person of Elijah became an element in eschatological teaching--though it is reasonable to suppose that the account in 2 Kings ii. was the starting-point in this--yet he figures
suddenly in connection with the "Day of the Lord" in Mal. iv. 5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. Our Lord showed (Matt. xi. 14, xvii. 10-13) that, taken in the literal sense in which it was originally intended to be taken, this eschatological trait was erroneous. But the point is both interesting and important, as it shows the possibility of the existence of other popular elements which are not recorded in the Old Testament, but which are perhaps still preserved in portions of the Apocalyptic literature (see below, chap. vi.). So much then for some Old Testament examples of the signs which are to precede the End.
It is not always possible to keep the details of Old Testament teaching on Eschatology, which we are considering under these four heads, entirely apart; the various elements necessarily run into each other to a large extent, being, as they are, so closely connected with each other. Under our present heading attention is to be drawn to some Old Testament references to the central fact of
the Eschatological Drama, viz., the Advent of Jehovah. In most cases, though not invariably, Jehovah appears as Judge; thus in Amos v. 17 we read: I will pass through the midst of thee, saith the Lord; the preceding verses tell of the wickedness of the people, e.g., verse 12, For I know how manifold are your transgressions and how mighty are your sins . . ., and it is for this reason, as the context goes on to show, that Jehovah is about to "pass through the midst" of them, i.e., it is in order, as their Judge, to punish them. The belief in the personal appearance of Jehovah is one which must be borne in mind in view of what will be said in future chapters (see too, the section on Theophanies below). It is brought out prominently again in Isa. xxiv. 23; the former half of this verse, as already shown above, contains the stereotyped conceptions concerning the signs pre-ceding the Advent, the latter half goes on to say: For the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. The bringing of Zion and Jerusalem into the circle of eschatological ideas is characteristic of a somewhat later development; it recurs in Isa. lxv. 17-19: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new
earth: and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. The thought is also present in the well-known passage in Mal. iii. 1-3 concerning the Advent: . . . And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, behold, he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. . . . The earlier conception appears, however, in a passage which is evidently much later than the thought it expresses, Isa. lxvi. 15, 16: For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and his chariots shall be like the whirlwind; to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord plead, and by his sword, with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. Similar to this passage is Nah. i. 3-6: The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
[paragraph continues] He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers. . . . The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his pry is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him. As in the case of the signs which are to precede the end, so with the central fact of the Advent of Jehovah, its combination with present historical occurrences is characteristic of Old Testament Eschatology. A good example of this is afforded by the opening verses of the book of Micah; the prophecy is taken up against Samaria and Jerusalem on account of their idolatry, and this wickedness is represented as the cause of Jehovah's Advent, so that in the middle of the prophecy familiar eschatological traits suddenly appear. The prophecy (Mic. i. ff.) begins: The word of the Lord that came to Micah . . . which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, ye peoples, all of you; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. So far we have words which are in the regular prophetic style and in which there
is not necessarily any sign of eschatological thought; and if the words of verse 5 followed verse 2 (just quoted) the connection would be perfectly clear, viz.: For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel . . . . ; but the following words of verses 3, 4 intervene: For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, as waters that are poured down a steep place. This, it will be noticed, is one of the regular conceptions descriptive of the coming of Jehovah; its position, therefore, in the midst of an ordinary prophecy illustrates the truth that eschatological conceptions are utilised and adapted by the prophets for special purposes. Another example of this occurs in Zeph. i. 7-10: Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord; for the day of the Lord is at hand; then comes the prophecy of the punishment of the sinners in Jerusalem, and it continues: And in that day, saith the Lord, there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills; a little further on, in verse 14, comes again the definite
announcement of the Advent of Jehovah: The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man crieth there bitterly. Zephaniah refers, once more, to this in iii. 8: Therefore wait for me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. Examples of other prophetic utterances concerning the Advent of Jehovah are: Joel ii. 1, Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. Hag. ii. 6, For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; ii. 21, 22, I will shake the heavens and the earth, and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and once more, Zech. ii. 13, Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for he is waked up out of his holy habitation. These will be sufficient to illustrate the Old Testament teaching concerning
the actual Advent of Jehovah, but see further below, Theophanies.
This judgement, which belongs inseparably to Old Testament eschatological teaching, is always against the wicked regarded as the enemies of Jehovah; this trait, too, is largely conditioned by the historical circumstances of the time. In its earliest form it may reasonably be assumed that the judgement was upon the powers of evil, 1 but this was adopted by the prophets and applied at one time to the wicked within the Israelite nation, at another to the Gentiles, who, as not being the worshippers of Jehovah, were usually regarded as the natural enemies both of the Israelites and of Jehovah, and are thus classed among the wicked. But, as will be seen in the next section, universalistic tendencies sometimes caused a modification of this attitude in regard to the Gentiles. In the passages now to be considered, therefore, both Israelites in some cases, and Gentiles in others, are represented as the objects of divine wrath, whose punishment is to be accomplished at
[paragraph continues] Jehovah's Advent. Amos is again the first to sound these notes; he denounces Israelite and Gentile alike, all are to suffer the just judgement on account of their wicked deeds at the Advent of Jehovah: i. 2, The Lord shall roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the pastures of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither. The long passage which follows shows a combination of historical events with the prophecies of judgement, but at the base of all lies the thought contained in the verse just quoted that the Advent of Jehovah will bring with it the punishment of the wicked whether they be Gentiles or the people of the Lord; indeed, the guilt of these latter is the greater, according to Amos, since they were the chosen of the Lord: You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities (iii. 2). A specific denunciation against the Israelites is contained in v. 18: Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord? Wherefore would ye have the day of the Lord? it is darkness, and not light. These words reveal the existence of a popular, but erroneous, conception of the "Day of the Lord." 1 In
[paragraph continues] Isa. viii. 22, there is an evident echo of the belief in the punishment of the wicked in the "Day of the Lord," though it is an adaptation to a particular time and event; the language, however, is unmistakeably eschatological: And they shall look unto the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away; see, too, xi. 4: And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked; the words occur in the middle of a well-known eschatological passage. Very clear, again, is the thought in Isa. xiii. 9, 11: Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. . . . And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. This is spoken of in reference to Gentiles; see further Isa. xvii. 9, however, where it is against the wicked in Israel that punishment "in that day" is proclaimed; but that chapter concludes with one of the most graphic passages in the whole Old Testament, and here
the doom is pronounced against the Gentiles because of their enmity against the people of God; the words are of such living force that the whole passage must be quoted: Ah, the uproar of many peoples, which roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of the nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters; but he shall rebuke them and they shall flee far of and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm. At eventide behold terror; and before the morning they are not. This is the portion of them that spoil, and the lot of them that rob us. Here again we have the adaptation of eschatological ideas to a particular event. Then again in Isa. xxiv. 21-23 it says: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered together in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be punished. Then shall the moon be confounded, and the sun ashamed. . . .; the verse that follows shows that the whole passage is eschatological; it has been already quoted above. One other
passage from this book must be mentioned, as it is of considerable importance in view of the Gospel teaching (see below ix. §iii.); it is lxvi. 22-24: For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Micah, like Amos, declares the punishment of the chosen people in "that day" equally with the other peoples of the earth; in the eschatological passage already alluded to above, occur these words: . . . For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. . . . (Mic. i. 5-9). Nahum, on the other hand, in his "burden" on Nineveh, in that part which is characterised by eschatological traits, says: But with an over-running flood he will make full end of the place thereof, and will pursue his enemies into darkness (i. 8). Then again, Zephaniah takes up his parable against the
land of Judah in the words: And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make an end, yea a terrible (or "speedy") end, of all them that dwell in the land (i. 17, 18). The prophet's denunciation continues: Gather yourselves together, O nation that lath no shame; before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you (ii. 1, 2; cf., too, iii. 8, 11). In the book of Zechariah we meet with some new elements, though they do not occur here for the first time; the Jewish nation is to be the instrument for punishing the Gentiles in the "last times," though Jehovah Himself will fight for His people against those who attack them. But the prophet goes on to say that the gracious spirit of the Lord will be poured out upon His people so that they will repent of all their wickedness. See, for these thoughts, Zech. xii.; a few citations
from this chapter may be given to illustrate what has been said. In verses 2 ff. it says: Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. . . . In that day will I make the Chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a torch of fire among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left. . . . And it shall come to pass in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication. . . . Then in chap. xiv. the theme is taken up again and somewhat varied: the nations will attack Jerusalem when the day of the Lord comes, and the city will be sacked; then, in the words of the prophet, shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle (verses 1-3). This
chapter will come before us again. Lastly, in Mal. iii. 18, iv. 1-3, indiscriminate punishment upon all the wicked is announced when the "Day of the Lord" comes, though primarily, it would seem, the Jews are meant: Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall leave them neither root nor branch. . . . And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do make, saith the Lord of hosts; in this last verse the just are spoken of as those who are to annihilate the wicked, that is to say, they are to constitute the army of the Lord, see Joel ii. 11, where this army is again spoken of, but it appears that here the army of the Lord is to be composed of a "great and strong people" (see verse 2) whom the Lord will raise up for the purpose of punishing the wicked in Israel: And the Lord uttereth his voice before his army; for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of the Lord is great and very
terrible. With what has been said in this section compare chap. v. §iii.
What has been already said more than once must be repeated here, namely, that historical conditions are often the point of attachment utilised by the prophets for the purpose of adding teaching concerning the "last things"; it is only by remembering this that we can understand how it is that in one and the same passage clear references to present conditions are found side by side with expressions and prophecies which are as clearly eschatological. An example of this is found in Amos. v.; part of this chapter deals with the wickedness of the house of Israel, but the hope of forgiveness is held out to those who turn from evil and do the will of God; in the very middle of the chapter, however, occur some traits which are indisputably eschatological (verses 16-18, 20), while, on the other hand, the last verse runs: Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts--an obvious reference to an historical event
about to occur in the near future, but nothing to do with the "last things." This method of the prophets is of the highest importance, for it tended to show the intimate connection that exists between the condition of men hereafter and their present manner of life; it may be true enough that the prophets had but hazy conceptions as to the actual state of the departed, but that did not affect the principle taught of the relationship between man's state here and hereafter, namely, that according as he was loyal and obedient to the ethical demands of Jehovah, or not, here, so was his condition to be one of peace, or the reverse, hereafter. That among the people material notions obtained concerning the time to come, and that even the prophets themselves looked for the reign of Jehovah as something that was to take place on this earth, did not in the least interfere with the principle they sought to inculcate; indeed this must have made their teaching more realistic, and therefore more effective. Since those days the conscience of mankind, quickened by the teaching of Christ, has recognised how truly those prophets taught; the expression of the truth may have been inadequate, the belief may have been to some extent erroneous, but the underlying principle
is acknowledged by most men to have been a true one. 1
In the preceding section we saw that one of the main elements of prophetic eschatological teaching was that in the final issue punishment awaited the wicked; in the present section we must see how the converse of this was also part of the teaching of the Old Testament. In the passage just referred to (Amos v.) the presence of eschatological traits make it probable that in the mind of the prophet these lay behind all his words in this particular prophecy, and therefore it may be assumed that he had in mind the reward of the Righteous in the "Day of the Lord" when he says, in v. 14, 15: Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye say. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgement in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph; then follows the eschatological passage proper quoted in a previous section. There are a number of passages in the book of Isaiah in which the thought of the final Blessedness of the Righteous finds expression; notable
among these is the long passage in iv. 2-6; this speaks of the happy state of the remnant of Israel in the Messianic Age, which follows after the "last things." A few words may be quoted: In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be excellent and comely, for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. . . . Isaiah's doctrine of the "Remnant" 1 is important in connection with our present subject, for the belief that only a few, comparatively speaking, will deserve the reward of the Righteous in "that day" finds expression both in his writings as well as in those of later prophets; in x. 20 ff., for example, he says: And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them. . . . For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return; a consumption is determined, overflowing with righteousness. The ideal picture of the reign of peace, in Isa. xi. 1-9, is, of course, to be the lot of the
[paragraph continues] Righteous. The joy of the Righteous is again spoken of in the eschatological passage, Isa. lxv. 17 ff.; in verses 18, 19 we read: But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create (i.e., "new heavens and a new earth"): for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. . . . The same thought occurs again in lxvi. 10 ff. and in verse 22 of this chapter: For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. The blessedness of the Righteous in the "Day of the Lord" is further referred to by the prophet Nahum; in i. 7 occur these words: The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that put their trust in him; both the preceding and following verses are of an eschatological character, the words must therefore be regarded as expressive of thoughts belonging to the same cycle of ideas. The same is to be said of Zeph. ii. 3: Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger. Again in the book of Joel a familiar eschatological
passage ends thus: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be those that escape, as the Lord hath said, and among the remnant those whom the Lord doth call (ii. 32). The dwelling of Jehovah in Jerusalem among His people after the terrors of "that day" are past is again referred to in Joel iii. 16, 17: But the Lord will be a refuge unto his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy. . . . The constant reference to the actual dwelling of Jehovah in Jerusalem must strike us as somewhat over-bold, for it would be a mistake to suppose that the prophets did not intend this to be understood in a literal sense; it must, however, be remembered that the prophets picture the conditions under which this is to take place as very different from ordinary earthly conditions; it is a "new heaven" and a "new earth" which is to come into existence first; the destruction and obliteration of all evil is likewise to be accomplished before Jehovah's reign on earth commences; so that the idea is not so incongruous as it might appear at first sight. It is
true that to localise Jehovah's presence and to restrict it to the capital of the Jewish nation seems somewhat derogatory to the majesty and illimitableness of the Divine Personality; but, after all, what alternative was there? The conceptions about the spiritual world were still far too undeveloped to permit of transferring the kingdom that was to come to the land where, according to the belief of the times, "all things are forgotten"; and it followed that to conceive rightly of the place where Jehovah and His angels dwelt as that wherein the reign of peace and joy was to be, was an impossibility on account of the spiritual conceptions which such a belief required. Even at the present day things are often written--especially in hymns--about what, for the want of a better name, we call "Heaven," which can scarcely be said to denote very high spiritual conceptions about the world to come; so that it is not surprising to find among writers who lived so many centuries ago, and who had not yet received the revelation which came by Christ, a great mixture of materialistic ideas with spiritual thought in the descriptions of the world to come. And being thus restricted by the nature of the case to this earth, it was necessarily to Jerusalem
that the prophets looked as that which was to be the centre of the new kingdom which Jehovah was going to establish; this is so self-evident, seeing that the Jews alone were the worshippers of Jehovah, that the point need not be insisted upon further. One or two other passages may be quoted to illustrate this--Zech. xiv. 8-11: And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea, in summer and winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall the Lord be one, and his name one. . . . And men shall dwell therein, and there shall be no more curse; but Jerusalem shall dwell safely. In Mal. iv. 1, 2, after the announcement of the approach of the "Day" and the destruction of the wicked, it continues: But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.
These passages will be sufficient to illustrate the prophets' teaching concerning the Blessedness of the Righteous when the signs which are to precede the coming of the "Day of the Lord" have been fulfilled.
Before summing up what has been said in this chapter, some subsidiary points, not altogether unimportant, must be considered.
12:1 With the question as to how the ideas which gave birth to these expressions came into being themselves, we are not concerned here; the subject is fully dealt with in the writer's book, The Evolution of the Messianic Idea (1908), see especially chaps. x., xi., xvi.
13:1 It may be thought that the large number of references to be quoted in full in this and the following chapter is unnecessary, and that it would have sufficed to indicate chapter and verse; the reason why the present course has been adopted, is because so many readers find it troublesome to have to be constantly looking up references, and therefore soon give up doing so; but the argument to be considered cannot be adequately followed, unless p. 14 the words of Scripture themselves are read. It has therefore been thought well, in spite of the space taken up, to show by quotations how the roots of the Gospel teaching concerning the subject under consideration are embedded in the Old Testament writings.
14:1 Sometimes the "Day" is used in a wide sense for the new era itself.
21:1 See the writer's book referred to above, pp. 241 ff.
28:1 Cf. The Evolution of the Messianic Idea, chap. xiii.
29:1 See The Evolution of the Messianic Idea, chap. xvi. pp. 241-248.
38:1 Cf. the Gospel teaching of the Kingdom of God, which shows still more pointedly the indissoluble connection between Ethics and Eschatology.
39:1 See, on this subject, The Evolution of the Messianic Idea, chap. xiv. pp. 206 ff.