Note - This summary of Israel's beliefs about the coming Messiah is taken from Schurer's massive work The History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, which is in the public domain. Disclaimer -- While the following is interesting and often has accurate eschatology, Schurer does make some statements regarding prophecy with which I strongly disagree (some of these differences are noted by Ed Comments).
29. The Messianic Hope
- Relation to the older Messianic Hope
- Historical Survey
- Systematic Statement
a. Last Tribulation and Perplexity
b. Elias as the Forerunner
c. The Appearing of the Messiah
d. Last Attack of the Hostile Powers
e. Destruction of the Hostile Powers
f. Renovation of Jerusalem
g. Gathering of the Dispersed
h. The Kingdom of Glory in Palestine
i. Renovation of the World
j. The General Resurrection
k. The Last Judgment, Eternal Salvation and Condemnation
l. Appendix—The Suffering Messiah
Within the sphere of the religious ideas held by the Jewish people during the period with which we are occupied, two groups may be distinguished: (1) General religious ideas, with respect to the relation of man and of the world to God, and (2) Specific Israelitish ideas, which have for their object the relation of the Jewish people to Jahveh as the God of Israel. The latter are those which are the really prevailing ideas, they form the centre around which the others are grouped and to which they are related. These specific Israelitish ideas however received again their special tinge in later times from the legal view of the relation between Jahveh and Israel. The thought, that God had selected this one people for His possession and therefore bestowed His benefits upon them exclusively, was now supplemented by the other, that He had also given them a law, and thereby bound Himself to bestow His benefits under the presupposition, that they observed this law. Thus the maxim, that God gave many commands and ordinances to the people of Israel for the purpose of providing them with much reward now formed the core of the religious consciousness. Very simple observation however showed, that this reward was in present experience bestowed neither upon the nation as a whole, nor upon individuals, in the proportion to be expected. The more intensely therefore the consciousness of the nation and the individual was penetrated by this thought, the more must their gaze have been directed to the future, and the worse the state of the present, the more ardent must that gaze have been. Hence we may say, that in later times the religous consciousness was concentrated upon the hope of the future. The better future to be expected was the special object towards which all other religious ideas teleologically referred. As the work of the Israelite was virtually the observance of the law, so was his faith virtually belief in a better future. Round these two poles (as we have already remarked, p. 93) did the religious life of the Jewish people revolve during our period. They were zealous for the law in order one day to obtain reward. This central position of the hope of the future in the religious consciousness of Israel justifies us in again specially directing our attention thereto.
The hope of a better future was already with the prophets of the Old Testament an essential element of their religious consciousness. Nor was it ever entirely lost by the people, though it was not always as lively as it again became in an increasing degree after the Maccabaean rising. In the course of time however this hope of the future experienced many changes. There was indeed far greater freedom of movement in the sphere of faith than in that of action. While legal precepts were binding to their very smallest details, and must therefore be handed down unaltered from one generation to another, comparatively freer play was permitted to faith, and provided certain fundamentals were adhered to, the individual need could here come forward more freely (see above, § 25. III. Halachah and Haggadah). Hence too the hope of the future was developed in very various manners. Still certain common ground lines may here be observed, by which the later Messianic hope is on the average characteristically distinguished from the older. The older Messianic hope virtually moves within the boundary of the then present circumstances of the world, and is nothing else than the hope of a better future for the nation. That the nation should be morally purified from all bad elements, that it should exist unmolested and respected in the midst of the Gentile world, whilst its enemies were either destroyed or forced to acknowledge the nation and its God, that it should be governed by a just, wise and powerful king of the house of David, and that therefore internal justice, peace and happiness would prevail, nay that all natural evils would be abolished and a state of unclouded prosperity would appear—this may be said to have formed the foundation of the future hope among the older prophets, This picture however underwent very important alterations in the consciousness of a subsequent age, partly in the times of the later prophets, but especially in the post-canonical period.
1. And first, the view became more and more extended from the nation to the world: the eye was fixed not only on the future of the nation, but on the future of the world. While in the former vision the heathen nations were only objects of consideration, so far as they stood in some kind of relation to Israel, the expectation of after times fixed its gaze more and more decidedly upon the fate of all mankind, nay of the whole world. The judgment was originally a visitation by which either Israel was purified or its enemies destroyed; it subsequently became the judgment of the world, in which the fate of all men and all nations will be decided, and that either by God Himself or by His Anointed, the Messianic, King of Israel. The ideal kingdom of the future does not, according to former expectation, extend beyond the actual limits of the Holy Land; according to the later view, the future kingdom of God comprises all mankind, who willingly or by compulsion are united under the sceptre of Israel into a universal monarchy. Thus the Messiah is the judge and ruler of the world. Nay even the irrational creation, heaven and earth, and therefore the whole universe in the strict sense, is transformed, the old destroyed and a new and glorious one made in its stead. This extension of the idea of the future was partly brought about by the extension of the political horizon. The more the small separate states were absorbed by the great universal monarchies, the more obvious was it to view the ideal kingdom of the future also as a universal monarchy. After the overthrow of the last heathen universal monarchy God Himself assumes the sceptre and founds a universal kingdom, which He, the heavenly King, rules by means of His people. But still more important than the enlargement of the political horizon in the development of the Messianic idea, was the enlargement of the notion of God and of the view of the world in general. In the original view Jehovah is only the God and King of Israel. He is subseqently more and more decidedly and evidently regarded as the God and King of the world. With this again is connected the ever increasing hold upon the consciousness of the nation of “the world” as a single whole comprising all existence. The growing universalism of the expectation of the future was virtually conditioned by this enlargement of the religious consciousness in general.
2. With this enlargement of the future hope is combined however, on the other hand, a far more decided reference of this hope to the individual. This too is connected with the development of the religious consciousness in general. Originally Jehovah is the God of the nation, who directs with His mighty hand the woe or weal of the people. The lot of the individual was hardly thought of. But as the religious consciousness deepened, the individual could not but more and more feel himself the object of God’s care. Each individual knew his fate to be in the hand of God, and was sure that God would not forsake him. The strengthening of this individual belief in providence gradually resulted in a more individual hope of the future. This was indeed comparatively very late, as it cannot be pointed to till the time of Daniel. The form in which it was first manifested was that of a belief in the resurrection. The pious Israelite being certain, that his personal and indeed his enduring and eternal salvation is the will of God, expects, that he and all the godly will have a share in the future glory of the nation. He then who is seized by death before this is realized, may hope, that he will one day be raised up again by God and transplanted to the kingdom of His glory. According to this the object of the resurrection is a participation in the glorious future of the nation, and the basis of faith in the resurrection is the ever more powerfully developing interest of personal salvation. But not only did the interest of salvation take an individual form, but reflection was more and more directed to the future fate of the individual in malam partem also. God keeps in heaven an account of the deeds of each individual, at least of each Israelite. And decision will be given at the judgment on the ground of what is contained in these heavenly books, and reward or punishment meted to each exactly according to his merits. The result of this again was, that the expectation of a resurrection was now that of a general resurrection: not only were the righteous, but the unrighteous also to rise, to receive their sentence at the judgment. This expectation however never attained general acceptance, many looking only for a resurrection of the just. Lastly however the individual interest was no longer satisfied with a resurrection for the purpose of participation in the Messianic kingdom. This was no longer regarded as the ultimate and supreme felicity, but a higher, an eternal, a heavenly happiness expected afterwards, even an absolutely glorious state in heaven; as on the other hand for the wicked, not merely an exclusion from Messiah’s kingdom, but eternal torment and punishment in hell.
3. These last particulars are already connected with a further peculiarity, by which the hope of the future entertained in later, is distinguished from that of older times; for it had now become more and more transcendent, and was more and more trausferred to the supernatural and supermundane. The older hope kept within the range of present circumstances. A destruction of the enemies of Israel, a purification of the people and their glorious future, were expected. However ideal the representation of this future prosperity, it still remains within the circle of present circumstances. In the later view the present and the future became more and more pure contrasts, the gulf between the two ever deeper, the view ever more dualistic. With the appearance of Messianic times a new course of the world, a new עוֹלָם, is to begin. This future course of the world (עוֹלָם הַבָּא) is however in all respects the entire contrast to the present course of the world (עוֹלָם הַוֶּה). The present is under the rule of the ungodly powers of Satan and his angels, and therefore sunk in sin and sorrow. The future is under the rule of God and His Anointed: and only righteousness and happiness prevail therein. There can scarcely be any connection between the two. By a miraculous act of God the one will be destroyed, the other called into existence. However much this view may be supported by the former representation, the contrast between now and then is much more sharply drawn than in the former view. The latter sees far more the gracious government of God in the present time also. According to the later representation it might almost seem, as if God had for the present given over the government to the Satanic powers, and had reserved for the future world the full exercise of His sway. Accordingly the future salvation is also more and more regarded as purely transcendental. All the benefits of the future world come down from above, from heaven, where they had pre-existed from all eternity. They are kept there for the saints as an “inheritance,” which will one day be bestowed upon them. In particular does the perfect, the glorious, new Jerusalem, which will at the time of the consummation of all things descend to earth in the place of the old, exist there already. So too the Messiah, the perfect King of Israel, chosen by God from eternity, is already there in communion with God. All that is good and perfect can come only from above, because all that is earthly is in its present condition the direct contrary to the divine. At last therefore the hope of the future outsteps altogether the limits of earthly existence. The final happiness is not even found in the kingdom of glory upon the renewed earth, but in an absolute state of glory in heaven. As the salvation itself, so also is the manner of its realization more and more transcendentally conceived of. The judgment is a forensic act, in which, without the intervention of earthly powers, the fate of men is decided simply by the verdict of God, or of His Anointed; and the execution of this sentence is effected only by supernatural powers, by a miraculous act of God, which destroys the old and calls the new order of things into existence.
4. Lastly, the Messianic hope received an entirely new colouring in later times from the fact that it, like the whole circle of religious ideas in general, was increasingly dogmatized by the diligent labour of the scribes. In place of vigorous religious productiveness came the learned investigation of the prophetic writings, by which the details of the Messianic picture of the future were dogmatically settled. The task of the scribes was indeed at first the settling and treatment of the law. But they then, according to the same method, worked at and settled in detail the whole circle of religious ideas, and especially the Messianic expectations. Thus the poetic picture became learned dogma. While in the ideal imagery of the prophets the boundary of the literal and figurative meaning is evidently a fluctuating one, the sacred text of the prophets is taken at its word by the scribes of a later age, the poetic image is stiffened into dogma, and the character of the whole picture of the future becomes thereby increasingly an externally transcendental one. Not only moreover were all the existing details collected and dogmatically arranged, but new details were elicited by their learned combination, after the manner of Haggadic Midrash (see above, § 25. III.). For the sake of obtaining new disclosures, the most heterogeneous passages were with the utmost ingenuity brought into relation with each other, and the details of Messianic theology thereby more accurately and comprehensively determined. It cannot be denied however, that such learned material also fluctuated, for it never became really binding like the details of the law. Thus the individual was at liberty to appropriate now more now less of it, and to fashion it according to his own perceptions, so that the Messianic hope was always fluctuating and is met with in very different forms among different individuals.
It must moreover be also remarked, that the peculiarities of the later Messianic expectation here described are by no means equally found everywhere. Even in later times, the old hope of a glorious future for the nation maintained the supremacy. This forms even in the later view of the future the determining ground-plan of the picture. And just as upon this foundation the characteristic peculiarities of the later view have stronger or weaker influence, and produce this or that alteration, is the old image now more now less, now in one way now in another, specially modified and supplemented.
But did this hope, we would next inquire, always continue active among the people? Did it not itself die out with the dying out of ancient prophecy, and revive to new life through the Christian movement? The latter has been frequently asserted, especially so far as the Messianic idea in its narrower sense of the expectation of a Messianic King is concerned. It is thought, that this was again stirred up by the appearance of Jesus Christ, and that it was thereby revivified even in the circles of Judaism. This assertion has been made in a summary manner by Bruno Bauer and Volkmar, in a more enlightened one and with better foundation by Holtzmann. The statements adduced by the latter are about these. After the almost total extinction of the Messianic idea in the last centuries before Christ, it was reconstructed in the way of scholarship “by means of mere literary investigation.” This process of new formation had in the time of Jesus been already entered upon, but did not receive its completion till the Christian period and under the partial influence of Christian ideas. The Messianic idea was in the time of Christ by no means an active one in the popular consciousness. An essential distinction between the later scholastic and the former prophetic idea of the Messiah was, that the prophets did not expect His appearance till after God Himself had in a decisive battle destroyed the hostile powers, while according to the later dogmatic the Messiah was to come to hold a judgment, and that a judgment in a forensic form. Setting aside for the present the latter point, we may sum up our verdict on Holtzmann’s view by saying, that he is decidedly in the right, when he insists on the scholastic character of the later Messianic idea, but in the wrong, when he as good as denies the Messianic idea to the last centuries before Christ, and represents it as not yet transferred to popular consciousness during the life of Jesus. The latter is in opposition to the gospel history, and the former he can only maintain by either entirely disregarding evidence to the contrary (as Henoch, xc. 37–38; Orac. Sibyll. 3:46–50; Philo, de praem. et poen. § 16), or casting doubt upon the time of its composition (as the Psalterium Salomonis), or explaining it away in an arbitrary manner (as Orac. Sibyll. 3:652 sqq., which is said to relate to Simon the Maccabaean). In truth the Messianic idea never quite died out at least not in its more general form of the hope of a better future for the nation. In any case it was again very active in the last centuries before Christ, and especially in the time of Christ, as the course of the gospel history shows. It there appears as thoroughly alive among the people, without Jesus doing anything to revive it; and indeed it appears as a rule in the last centuries before Christ, not only in its general form as the hope of a better future of the nation, but also in its special form as the hope of a Messianic King. This will appear as we present in the following pages: (1) The development of the Messianic idea in its historical course; and (2) give a Systematic view of Messianic dogmatics.
The prophecies of the Book of Daniel (about 167 to 165 before Christ (Ed comment: I totally disagree with Schurer's dating of Daniel - this dating was invoked by those who had difficulty believing the incredibly detailed and completely accurate prophecies that foretold the nations that would rule over Israel from circa 500BC to the time of Christ) had a profound influence upon the form of the Messianic idea. In the time of the affliction (עֵת צָרָה, Daniel 12:1-note), which had come upon Israel by reason of the insane measures of Antiochus Epiphanes, the prophet predicts the approaching deliverance. God will Himself sit in judgment on the kingdoms of this world, and will take from them power and dominion, and root up and destroy them for ever. But “the saints of the Most High” will receive the kingdom and possess it for ever and ever (Da 7:22-note). All peoples and nations and tongues will serve them, and their kingdom will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:9–27-note, Daniel 2:44-note). The righteous too who have fallen asleep will have their share in it; for they will awake from the dust of the earth to everlasting life, but the ungodly to everlasting contempt (Da 12:2-note). Whether the author (Ed: Schurer is referring to Daniel) conceived of this kingdom of the saints of the Most High, as with a Messianic King at its head, cannot be made out, at any rate he makes no mention of him. For he, who appears in the form of a man (כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ, Da 7:13-note), is by no means the personal Messiah (Ed: Again I disagree strongly with Schurer's interpretation), but, as the author plainly and expressly says in the interpretation, the people of the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27-note). As the kingdoms of the world are represented by beasts, which rise up out of the sea, so is the kingdom of the saints represented by a human form, which descends from the clouds of heaven. The coming up out of the sea, i.e. the abyss, points to the anti-divine origin of the former, the coming from heaven to the divine origin of the latter. Thus the core of Daniel’s Messianic hope is the universal dominion of the saints (see especially Da 2:44-note, Da 7:14-note, Da 7:27-note). And indeed the author does not, as might appear from chap. 7, conceive of this as brought about by a mere judicial sentence of God. On the contrary, he says expressly (Da 2:44-note), that the kingdom of the saints shall “break in pieces and destroy,” (Ed: Again not exactly accurate -- the Stone, Messiah, will conquer, not "the kingdom of the saints") i.e. conquer by force of arms the world-kingdoms, by the help indeed of God and according to His will. It is also deserving of attention, that in this book the hope in a resurrection of the body is for the first time plainly and decidedly expressed (Da 12:2-note). Hence here as formerly, the Messianic hope is the hope of a glorious future for the nation, but with the double modification that the future kingdom of Israel is conceived of as a universal kingdom, and that all the saints who have died will share in it.
In the apocryphal books of the Old Testament the Messianic hope cannot, by reason of the historical or didactic nature of these books, be brought prominently forward. But it is by no means absent from them. Thus we find, in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, all the essential elements of the older Messianic hope, the expectation of penal judgment upon the heathen (Ecclus. 32:18, 19, 33:1 sqq.), the deliverance of Israel from their troubles (Ecclus. 50:24), the gathering of the dispersed (33:11), the everlasting duration of the nation (37:25, 40:13), nay, the everlasting duration of the Davidic dynasty (47:11). In the other apocryphal books too, we meet first one and then another element: that God will judge the heathen (Judith 16:17), and gather the dispersed of Israel into one nation again (2 Macc. 2:18; Bar. 2:27–35, 4:36, 37, 5:5–9); that the people shall be established for ever (2 Macc. 14:15), and that the throne of David shall be an eternal one (1 Macc. 2:57). The author of the Book of Tobit hopes, not only that the righteous will be gathered, the nation of Israel exalted, and Jerusalem rebuilt in the most splendid manner with gold and precious stones (Tob. 13:12–17, 14:7), but also, in common with certain prophets of the Old Testament, that all the heathen will be converted to God (Tob. 13:11, 14:6, 7). In the Hellenistic Wisdom of Solomon the national element is, as may be conceived, in the background, nay the author cannot, by reason of his Platonistic anthropology, expect true happiness for the soul till after death. With him therefore the important element is, that the righteous dead will one day sit in judgment upon the heathen (Wisd. 3:8, 5:1; comp. 1 Cor. 6:2 sq.). The explanation of the just man in Wisd. 2:12–20 as the Messiah, which is prevalent in older exegesis, is utterly unfounded.
The stream of Messianic prediction flows forth in copious abundance in the oldest Jewish Sibyllines, which appeared about 140 B.C. Sibyll. 3:286 sq. must not indeed be referred to these (Καὶ τότε δὴ θεὸς οὐρανόθεν πέμψει βασιλῆα, Κρινεῖ δʼ ἄνδρα ἕκαστον ἐν αἵματι καὶ πυρὸς αὐγῇ), where on the contrary Cyrus is spoken of. Nor can the υἱὸς θεοῖο, 3:775, be appealed to. For according to the correct supposition of Alexandre, we must read νηόν instead of υἱόν. And lastly, it is quite a mistake to understand by the κόρη, in whom, according to Sibyll. 3:748–786, God will dwell, the mother of Messiah (an explanation into which, following Langen, even Weiffenbach7 suffered himself to be seduced). For the κόρη, Hebr. בְּתוּלָה, is nothing else than Jerusalem. Still after the withdrawal of all these passages, it remains certain, that the whole section, Sibyll. 3:652–794, is of almost exclusively Messianic purport, although only a short mention of the Messianic King is made at the beginning. From the east (ἀπʼ ἠελίοιο), it is here said, will God send a king, who will put an end to all war upon earth, killing some, and fulfilling the promises to others. And he will do this not according to his own counsel, but in obedience to the commands of God. At his appearance (for this is certainly the meaning of the author), the kings of the heathen assemble once more for an attack upon the temple of God and the Holy Land. They offer their idolatrous sacrifices round about Jerusalem. But God will speak to them with a mighty voice, and they will all perish by the hand of the Immortal. The earth will quake and the mountains and hills be overturned, and Erebus will appear. The heathen nations will perish by war, sword and fire, because they lifted their spears against the temple (663–697). Then will the children of God live in peace and quietness, because the hand of the Holy One protects them (698–709). And the heathen nations seeing this will be encouraged to bless and praise God, to send gifts to His temple and to accept His law, because it is the most just in all the world (710–726). Peace will then prevail among all the kings of the earth (743–760). And God will set up an eternal kingdom over all men. Men will bring offerings to the temple of God from all parts of the earth. The prophets of God will lay down the sword, for they are judges of men and just kings. And God will dwell upon Zion and universal peace will prevail upon earth (766–794). The writer lays the chief stress, as we see, upon the circumstance, that the law of God will attain recognition and validity among all the nations of the earth, but he expects not this alone, but the setting up of a universal kingdom over all mankind (766–767: βασιλήϊον εἰς αἰῶνας πάντας ἐπʼ ἀνθρώπους) with Jerusalem as its theocratic centre. It is only at the beginning that he thinks of the king sent from God as the instrument for the establishment of the universal peace. But he is undoubtedly to be thought of as the intervening cause, when it is said, ver. 689, that God exterminates the attacking heathen by war and sword (πολέμῳ ἠδὲ μαχαίρῃ). And if the prophets of God (θεοῦ μεγάλοιο προφῆται, i.e. indeed the Israelites, the saints of the Most High as they are called in Daniel) are only generally spoken of as judges and kings (780–781), still a theocratic king at their head is at least not excluded by the words of the author. It is in any case worthy of remark, that even an Alexandrian, when painting the future, cannot dispense with the God-sent king.
The original portion of the Book of Enoch (in the last third of the 2nd century before Christ) contains comparatively little that is Messianic. It is the conclusion of the vision of Judgment (c. 90:16–38), which is here chiefly to be considered. The author expects in the first place a last powerful attack of the heathen (here chiefly the Syrian) power, which is however rendered vain by the miraculous intervention of God (90:16–19). A throne is then erected in the delightful land and God sits in judgment. First the fallen angels and then the apostate Jews are cast into the fiery pit (90:20–27). Then the old Jerusalem (for the “house” is Jerusalem) is done away with, and God brings a new Jerusalem and places it on the spot where the old one stood (90:28–29). In this new Jerusalem dwell the pious Jews, and the heathen do them homage (90:30). Hereupon the Messiah appears (under the image of a white bullock), and all the heathen pray to Him and are converted to God (90:37–38). The transcendent character of the later Messianic idea here comes forward: the new Jerusalem has nothing in common with the old, but is brought from heaven in a miraculous manner.
We meet with the Messianic King depicted in sharper outlines and fuller colours in the Psalterium Salomonis, composed in the time of Pompey (63–48 B.C.). These Psalms are instructive, if only because their author dwells both upon God Himself being the King of Israel (17:1), and David’s house never becoming extinct before God (17:5). Hence it must not be concluded, without further ceremony, that when the former takes place, the latter is excluded. The longing for the Davidic king is especially ardent in the author, for Jerusalem had, in his time, fallen under the heathen rule of the Romans, and no hope for the future could be built upon the Sadducean-minded dynasty of the Asmonaeans. Hence he hopes, that God will raise up a prince of the house of David to rule over Israel, to crush their enemies, and to cleanse Jerusalem from the heathen (17:23–27). He will gather a holy people, and will judge the tribes of the nation, and not suffer unrighteousness in their midst, he will divide them in the land according to their tribes, and no stranger shall dwell among them (17:28–31). The heathen nations will serve him and will come to Jerusalem, to bring the wearied children of Israel as gifts and to see the glory of the Lord. He is a righteous king and one taught of God (17:32–35). And there is no unrighteousness in his days, for all are saints. And their king is the Lord’s anointed. He will not place his trust in horse or rider. For the Lord Himself is his King. And he will strike the earth with the word of his mouth for ever (17:36–39). He will bless the people of the Lord with wisdom; and he is pure from sin; and he will rule over a great people and not be weak. For God makes him strong by His Holy Spirit. He will lead them all in holiness, and there is no pride among them (17:40–46). This is the beauty of the king of Israel. Happy are they, who are born in his days (17:47–51). The writer expects, as it appears, not godly kings in general of David’s house, but a single Messiah endowed by God with miraculous powers, pure from sin and holy (17:41, 46), whom God has made powerful and wise by the Holy Spirit (17:2), and who therefore strikes his enemies not with external weapons, but with the word of his mouth (17:39 after Isa. 11:4). He is however, notwithstanding such idealism, represented as quite a worldly ruler, as an actual king of Israel. Comp. generally, Ps. 18:6–10, and especially Ps. 11: (the gathering of the dispersed) and 3:16, 14:2 sqq. (the resurrection of the just).
As the oppression of the Pompeian period was the occasion of the Psalter of Solomon, so also was the despotism of Antony and Cleopatra that of a more recent Sibylline piece (Orac. Sibyll. 3:36–92). When Rome had then obtained dominion over Egypt also, the Sibyllist expected the appearance of the kingdom of God on earth and the coming of a holy king to rule for ever over every land. The passage in question (3:46–50) is as follows:—
Αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ Ῥώμη καὶ Αἰγύπτου βασιλεύσει,
Εἰς ἓν ἰθύνουσα, τότε δὴ βασιλεία μεγίστη
Ἀθανάτου βασιλῆος ἐπʼ ἀνθρώποισι φανεῖται.
Ἥξει δʼ ἀγνὸς ἄναξ, πάσης γῆς σκῆπτρα κρατήσων
Εἰς αἰῶνας πάντας, ἐπειγομένοιο χρόνοιο.
The immortal King, whose kingdom is to appear among men, is of course God Himself. On the other hand, none other than the Messiah can be meant by the ἁγνὸς ἄναξ, who is to possess the sceptre of every kingdom. Here too, as in the Psalter of Solomon, we find the personal Messiah and the idea of the kingdom of God in direct combination.
If in the Psalter of Solomon the form of the Messianic King is already one far surpassing the ordinary human form, this feature comes out more strikingly in the figurative discourses of the Book of Enoch (chap. 37–71). The image of the Messiah is here chiefly drawn, in continuation of the Book of Daniel, by “the Son of man” being understood of the person of Messiah, and the coming from heaven taken literally; pre-existence being therefore ascribed to the Messiah. But unfortunately the date of the composition of this book is so uncertain, that we must renounce its insertion in the historical development. Use can only be made of it for the systematic survey.
The Assumptio Mosis, of about the beginning of the Christian era, predicts in words of beautiful aspiration the approach of the kingdom of God. The author, after bringing into view a time of tribulation such as that under Antiochus Epiphanes, continues, chap. 10.: “Then will his kingdom appear among all creatures, and the devil will have an end, and sorrow will disappear with him. Then will the Heavenly One arise from the seat of his kingdom and will come from his holy habitation with wrath and anger for his children’s sake, and the earth will tremble to its ends, and the high mountains be lowered, and the hills fall. The sun will give no light, and the moon be changed into blood (comp. Joel 3:4), and the stars fall into confusion. And the sea Will retreat to the abyss, and the water-springs fail, and the rivers be dried up. Then will the most High God, the alone Eternal, come forth to chastise the heathen and destroy all idols. Then wilt thou be happy, O Israel, and wilt tread upon the neck and wings of the eagle. And God will exalt thee and make thee soar to the firmament, and thou wilt thence look down upon thine enemies on earth, and shalt see them and rejoice, and give thanks and acknowledge thy Creator.” That in this magnificent picture of the future there should be no mention of the Messianic King, is certainly not accidental, if it is the case that the author belonged to the party of the Zealots (see below, § 32). This circumstance would then, as Wieseler justly remarks, be explained by the fact, that the author’s ideal would be, not a monarchic, but, if we may use the expression, a democratically constituted kingdom of God.
Equally without mention of a Messianic King, and on the whole in merely general outlines, does the Book of Jubilees describe the time of joy and delight, which will appear for Israel on their repentance. “The days will begin to increase, and the children of men will be older from generation to generation and from day to day, till the length of their life approaches a thousand years. And there will be none old or weary of life, but they will all be like children and youths, and will pass and live all their days in peace and joy, without there being any Satan or other evil spoiler; for all their days will be days of blessing and healing. At that time will the Lord heal His servants, and they will arise and see ever deeper peace and pursue again their enemies. And they will see it and give thanks, and rejoice for evermore. And they will see all the judgments and all the curse of their enemies. Their bones will indeed rest in the earth, but their spirits will have many joys, and they will perceive, that it is the Lord who sits in judgment and shows grace to hundreds and thousands and to all who love Him.” While it is here said only in general, that the servants of the Lord “will again pursue their enemies,” in another passage the dominion of the world is promised to the seed of Jacob. God said to Jacob: “I am the Lord thy God, who made heaven and earth. I will cause thee to grow and will greatly increase thee; and kings shall proceed from thee and shall rule everywhere, even wherever the foot of the children of men shall tread. And I will give to thy seed the whole earth, which is under heaven, and they shall rule according to their choice over all nations; and afterwards they shall draw the whole earth to themselves and inherit it to eternity.”
It is very characteristic testimony to the intensity of the Messianic hope in the age of Jesus Christ, that even a moralist like Philo should depict the happiness to be expected by the righteous, in the frame and with the colouring of Jewish national expectations. Two passages of his work “on the reward of the good and the punishment of the wicked” come in this respect especially under consideration (De exsecrationibus, § 8–9, ed. Mang. ii. 435 sq., and De praemiis et poenis, § 15–20, ed. Mang. ii. 421–428). In the former passage he expresses the hope, that all Israelites, or rather all who are converted to the law of God (for it depends on this and not on natural descent from Abraham), will be gathered in the Holy Land. “Though they should be in the ends of the earth as slaves among their enemies, who have taken them captive, yet will they all be set at liberty at a given sign on one day, because their sudden turning to virtue astonishes their masters. For they will release them because they are ashamed of bearing rule over their betters. When then this unexpected freedom is bestowed on those, who were before scattered in Hellas and in barbarous countries, on islands and on the continent, they will hasten with one impulse from all quarters to the place pointed out to them, led by a Divine superhuman appearance, which, invisible to all others, is visible only to the delivered. … When then they have arrived, the ruined cities will be rebuilt, and the desert reinhabited, and the barren land become fertile.” In the other passage (De praemiis et poenis, § 15 sqq., Mang. ii. 421 sqq.), Philo describes the time of prosperity and peace, which will appear when men turn to God. Before all they will be safe from wild beasts. “Bears, lions, panthers, Indian elephants, tigers and all kinds of beasts of uncontrollable strength and power will turn from their solitary ways of life to one according to law, and from intercourse with few, after the manner of gregarious animals, will accustom themselves to the sight of man, who will not as formerly be attacked by them, but feared as their master, and they will respect him as their natural lord. Some even, emulating the tame animals, will offer him their homage by wagging their tails like lap-dogs. The race too of scorpions, snakes and other reptiles will then no longer have any harmful poison” (§ 15). A further blessing of this time is peace among men. “Then says the prophecy (LXX. Num. 24:7) a man who goes to battle and makes war shall go forth and subdue great and populous nations, God Himself sending help to His saints. This consists in unshaken boldness of mind and invincible strength of body, qualities each of which singly is terrible to enemies, but which when combined nothing is able to resist. But some of the enemies are, as the prophecy says, not even worthy to perish by the hand of man. Against them He (God) will send swarms of wasps, who fight to a shameful overthrow for the saints. But these (instead of τοῦτον we must read τούτους, i.e. the saints) will not only have certain victory in battle without bloodshed, but also invincible power of government for the welfare of their subjects, who will submit from either love, fear, or reverence. For they (the saints) possess three qualities, which are the greatest, and which found an indestructible dominion. Holiness, great power and benevolence (σεμνότητα καὶ δεινότητα καὶ εὐεργεσίαν), the first of which produces reverence, the second fear, the third love, but if they are harmoniously combined in the soul, they produce subjects, who are obedient to their rulers” (§ 16). Philo next mentions riches and prosperity (§ 20), health and strength of body, as blessings of Messianic times (§ 17–18). It is evident, that notwithstanding his efforts always to lay the chief emphasis on the ethic, he was not able to avoid popular notions. For he too expected, after the realization of the ethic ideal, a time of external prosperity and happiness for the pious and virtuous, one feature of which would be, that they should have dominion upon earth. Nor was the Messianic King absent from this image. For who else than he could be intended by the man, who goes to battle, carries on war and subdues great and populous nations? And the less such a God-sent hero is required by Philo’s fundamental view, the more worthy of remark is it, that he is nevertheless included in his description of the Messianic age.
But even apart from such evidence, it is already plain from the New Testament, that the Messianic idea was anything but extinct in the popular consciousness in the period before Christ. We easily see from the question of John: “Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3; Luke 7:19–29), that the coming One was expected. And the whole course of the gospel history—to mention only Peter’s confession (Matt. 16:13 sqq.; Mark 8:27 sqq.; Luke 9:18 sqq.)—clearly shows that Jesus in acknowledging Himself to be the Messiah, was only connecting Himself with existing ideas He by no means aimed in the first place at the revival and animation of Messianic hopes. And yet we find, that at His entry into Jerusalem, the whole multitude hailed Him as the Messiah (Matt. 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 12). Such scenes are only to be explained on the assumption, that the Messianic hope was, before His appearance, already active in the nation.
This also needs no proof for the period after Christ. The numerous popular tumults of a politico-religious kind, which took place in the time of the Roman procurators (A.D. 44–66), give sufficient evidence of the feverish tension, with which a miraculous intervention of God in history and the appearance of His kingdom on earth were expected. How else could men such as Theudas the Egyptian have found believers for their promises by hundreds and thousands? Even Josephus superabundantly confesses, that the Messianic hope was one of the most powerful levers in the great insurrection against Rome. He himself did not indeed shrink from applying the Messianic prophecies to Vespasian, and in this respect he found approving faith from Tacitus and Suetonius.
On the state of the Messianic hope after the destruction of the temple, and during the last decades of the first century after Christ, we have copious information in the Apocalypses of Baruch and Ezra. The Apolcaypse of Baruch describes the course of the last things as follows: A time of general and terrible confusion will first of all occur, Men will mutually hate and fight against each other. The disreputable will rule over the respectable, the base will be exalted above the illustrious, the ungodly above heroes. And the nations (whom God has previously prepared for the purpose—we cannot but think of Gog and Magog) will come and fight against the princes who remain. And it will come to pass, that he who escapes from war, will perish by the earthquake, and he who escapes this, by fire, and he who escapes the fire, by famine. And he who escapes all these ills will be delivered into the hands of the Messiah (70:2–10). For he will be manifested, and destroy the hosts of the last universal kingdom. And the last prince, who is left, will be chained and brought to Zion, and the Messiah will convict him of ungodliness and put him to death (39:7–40:2). The Messiah will gather the nations, and to some he will grant life, and others he will destroy with the sword. He will grant life to those who have submitted to the seed of Jacob. But those who have oppressed Israel will be destroyed (72:2–6). Then will he sit upon the throne of his kingdom for ever; and peace will appear, and sorrow and tribulation depart from mankind, and joy prevail over the whole earth. And the wild beasts shall come and serve men, and vipers and serpents shall be subject to children. And the reapers shall not be faint, nor the builders weary (73–74; comp. 40:2, 3). And the earth shall yield her fruits a thousandfold, and on one vine there shall be a thousand branches, and on one branch a thousand clusters, and on one cluster a thousand grapes, and one grape will yield a cor of wine. And manna will again fall from heaven, and it shall be again eaten in those days (29:5–8). And after the end of that time all the dead will arise, the just and the unjust, in the same bodily form which they formerly had. Then will judgment be held. And after the judgment the risen will be changed. The bodies of the just will be transfigured in brightness, but those of the unjust will dwindle and become uglier than before. And they will be given up to torment. But the just will behold the invisible world, and will dwell in the high places of that world. And Paradise spreads out before them, and they see the hosts of angels who stand before the throne of God. And their glory is greater than that of the angels (chap, 30, 50, and 51; comp. 44:15).
The eschatological expectations of the fourth Book of Esdras agree in all essential points with those of Baruch. He too predicts first a time of fearful want and distress (5:1–13, 6:18–28, 9:1–12, 13:29–31). After this the Messiah, the Son of God, will be revealed, and it will come to pass, that when the nations hear His voice they will forget war amongst each other, and will assemble in an innumerable multitude for an attack against the anointed. But he will stand upon Mount Zion, and will convict them of their ungodliness, and destroy them by the law without battle and without weapons (13:25–28, 32–38; comp. 12:31–33). Then will the hidden city (viz. New Jerusalem) appear (7:26); and the ten tribes will return to the Holy Land (13:39–47). And the anointed will protect and rejoice the people of God in the Holy Land, and show them many miracles for four hundred years (7:27, 28, 12:34, 13:48–50; comp. 9:8). And after this the anointed and all men who have breath will die. And the world will again return to the silence of death for seven days, as at the beginning. And after seven days a world which now sleeps will awake, and the corrupt world will perish. And the earth will restore those who sleep in it; and the receptacles will give back the souls committed to them (7:29–32). And the Most High will appear upon the judgment-seat, and long-suffering will have an end; only judgment will remain, and the reward come to light (7:33–35). And the place of torment will be revealed, and opposite to it the place of rest; the pit of hell, and opposite to it Paradise. And the Most High will say to the risen: Behold Him whom you denied and did not honour, and whose commands you did not obey. Here is joy and delight, there is fire and torment. And the length of the day of judgment will be a week of years (6:1–17, according to the computation of the Ethiopic translation; comp. also vv. 59 and 68–72, ed. Fritzsche, in Bensley, The Missing Fragment, etc. 1875, pp. 55–58, 64, 69 sq.).
Thus the two Apocalypses. That their hopes are not those of individuals, but form an essential element of Jewish consciousness is still shown by the Shemoneh Esreh, the daily prayer of the Israelites, which received its present form about A.D. 100. As it has been fully given above (p. 85 sq.), we need here only recall that in the 10th petition the gathering of the dispersed, in the 11th the reinstitution of the native authorities, in the 14th the rebuilding of Jerusalem, in the 15th the sending of the son of David and the setting up of his kingdom, and lastly, in the 17th, the restoration of the sacrificial worship at Jerusalem, are prayed for. Such was the hope and prayer of every Israelite after the destruction of the Jewish polity.
We have in this survey purposely passed over the Targums, in which “King Messiah” frequently appears. For the opinion, that the older Targums originated in the time of Jesus Christ, may now be regarded as given up. They probably belong to the third or fourth century after Christ, at any rate, there is no proof of their greater antiquity, though they often fall back upon older exegetical traditions. Their case is the same as that of the other rabbinical works (the Mishna, Talmud, and Midrash), viz. that they are based upon older materials, but do not in their existing form belong to the period of which we are treating. The essential outlines of the Messianic hope of Judaism in this later time. (about the beginning of the third century) are very well summed up by the author of the Philosophumena, who describes them in the following manner: they say that the Messiah will proceed from the house of David, not from a virgin and the Holy Ghost, but from a man and woman, as it is appointed to all to be born from seed. He will, they believe, be king over them, a warlike and powerful man, who will gather together the whole nation of the Jews, and carry on war with all nations, and build Jerusalem as a royal city for the Jews, in which he will assemble the whole nation, putting it into its old condition as a ruling and a sacrifice-offering nation, which will long dwell in safety. Afterwards war will arise against them collectively, and in this war the Messiah will fall by the sword. Not long after will follow the end and the conflagration of the world, and then will be fulfilled that which is believed with respect to the resurrection, and retribution be done to every one according to his works.
We supplement this historical survey by giving also in the following pages a systematic statement of Messianic doctrinal theology on the foundation of the Shema, as resulting from the Apocalypse of Baruch and the fourth Book of Esdras. For the eschatological expectation is most fully developed in these two Apocalypses.
1. The last tribulation and perplexity
Almost everywhere when the last things are referred to, the thought recurs with different variations, that the appearance of redemption must be preceded by a period of special trouble and affliction. It was indeed in itself an obvious thought, that the path to happiness should pass through tribulation. This was also expressly predicted in the Old Testament (Hos. 13:13; Dan. 12:1, and elsewhere); and thus was formed in Rabbinical theology, the doctrine of the חֶבְלֵי הַמָּשִׁיחַ, the travail of the Messiah, which must precede His birth, i.e. His appearing (the expression according to Hos. 13:13; comp. Matt. 24:8: πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων; Mark 13:9: ἀρχαὶ ὠδίνων ταῦτα). The threatening troubles will be announced by omens of all kinds. The sun and moon will be darkened, swords appear in heaven, trains of horse and foot march through the clouds (Orac. Sibyll. 3:795–807; comp. 2 Macc. 5:2, 3. Joseph. Bell. Jud. vi. 5. 3. Tacit. Hist. v. 13). Everything in nature falls into commotion and confusion. The sun appears by night, the moon by day. Blood trickles from wood, the stone gives forth a voice, and salt is found in fresh water (4 Ezra 5:1–13). Places that have been sown will appear as unsown, full barns be found empty, and the springs of the wells be stopped (4 Ezra 6:18–28). Among men all the restraints of order will be dissolved, sin and ungodliness rule upon earth. And men will fight against each other as if stricken with madness, the friend against the friend, the son against the father, the daughter against the mother. Nation will rise against nation, and to war shall be added earthquakes, fire, and famine, whereby men shall be carried off (Book of Jubilees in Ewald’s Jahrb. vol. iii. p. 23 sq. Apocal. Baruch 70:2–8; 4 Ezra 6:24, 9:1–12, 13:29–31; Mishna, Sota ix. 15). Comp. also Matt. 24:7–12, 21; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:23; 1 Cor. 7:26; 2 Tim. 3:1.
The return of the prophet Elijah to prepare the way of the Messiah was expected on the ground of Mal. 4:3, 4. This view is already taken for granted in the Book of Ecclesiasticus (48:10, 11). It is, as is well known, frequently alluded to in the New Testament (see especially Matt. 17:10; Mark 9:11; also Matt. 11:14, 16:14; Mark 6:15, 8:28; Luke 9:8, 19; John 1:21). It was even transferred to the Christian circle of ideas. According to Mal. 4:4, the object of his mission is chiefly considered to be, to make peace upon earth and in general to substitute order for disorder (Matt. 17:11: ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα; Mark 9:12: ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα). The chief passage in the Mishna is as follows: “R. Joshua said: I received the tradition from R. Johanan ben Sakkai, who received it from his teacher as a tradition in a direct line from Moses at Mount Sinai, that Elias would not come to pronounce clean or unclean, to reject or admit families in general, but only to reject those who had entered by violence, and to admit those who had been rejected by violence. There was, beyond Jordan, a family of the name of Beth Zerefa, which a certain Ben Zion had excluded by violence. There was there another family (of impure blood), whom this Ben Zion had admitted by violence. Therefore he comes to pronounce such clean or unclean, to reject or to admit them. R. Jehudah says: only to admit, but not to reject. R. Simon says: his mission is merely to arrange disputes. The learned say neither to reject nor admit, but his coming is merely with the object of making peace in the world. For it is said: ‘I send you, Elijah the prophet, to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers’ (Mal. 3:4).” To the duty of the institutors of peace and order belongs also the decision of disputed cases. Therefore it is said in the Mishna, that money and property whose owners are disputed, or anything found whose owner is unknown, must wait “till Elijah comes.” The view that he will anoint the Messiah,27 and raise the dead, is also found in single instances. Besides Elijah, the prophet like Moses, who is promised Deut. 18:15 (John 1:21, 6:14, 7:40), was expected by many, while by others this passage was applied to the Messiah Himself. Allusions are also found in the New Testament to other prophets as forerunners of the Messiah, as e.g. Jeremiah (Matt. 16:14). In Christian authorities a return of Enoch is also spken of (Ev. Nicodemi, c. 25, and the patristic exegetes on Rev. 11:3).
3. The appearing of the Messiah.
After these preparations the Messiah will appear. For it is by no means the case, that pre-Christian Judaism did not expect the Messiah till after the judgment, and that it was under the influence of Christianity, that the notion of the Messiah Himself sitting in judgment upon His enemies was first found. For not only in Baruch and Ezra, not only in the figurative addresses of the Book of Enoch and in the Targums (where perhaps Christian influence might be admitted), but also in the oldest Sibyll (3:652–656), in the Psalter of Solomon (17:24, 26, 27, 31, 38, 39, 41), and in Philo (De praemiis et poenis, § 16), and thus in decidedly pre-Christian documents, does Messiah appear for the overthrow of the ungodly powers. And the opposite view, that He will not appear till after the judgment, is found only in a solitary instance, viz. in the groundwork of the Book of Enoch (90:16–38). Hence His appearing must undoubtedly be spoken of in this place.
First with regard to his name as the appointed King of Israel and the anointed of God, he is most frequently called the Anointed, the Messiah (Enoch 48:10, 52:4; Apocal. Baruch 29:3, 30:1, 39:7, 40:1, 70:9, 72:2; Ezra 8:28, 29, where the Latin translation is interpolated; Ezra 10:32: Unctus); Greek, Χριστὸς κυρίου (Psalt. Solom. 17:36, 18:6, 8); Hebr. הַמָּשִׁיחַ (Mishna, Berachoth i. 5); Aramaic, מְשִׁיחָא (Mishna, Sota ix. 15); or מַלְכָּא מְשִׁיחָא (both frequently in the Targums). The designation—the Son of man—which arose from appropriating directly to the Messiah, the image in Daniel of one coming in the clouds of heaven in the form of a man, but which, according to the context in Daniel, signifies the church and kingdom of God, is peculiar to the figurative addresses of the Book of Enoch (46:1–4, 48:2, 62:7, 9, 14, 63:11, 69:26, 27, 70:1). Inasmuch as the Messiah is the chosen instrument of God, and the love of God rests upon Him, He is called the Elect (Enoch 45:3, 4, 49:2, 51:3, 5, 52:6, 9, 53:6, 55:4, 61:8, 62:1), or like the theocratic king in the Old Testament, the Son of God (Enoch 105:2; 4 Ezra 7:28, 29, 13:32, 37, 52, 14:9). In Enoch the title Son of the Woman once occurs, perhaps as a Christian interpolation, Enoch 62:5. It was universally acknowledged, on the ground of Old Testament prophecy, that He would proceed from the race of David (Psalt. Solom. 17:5, 23; Matt. 22:42; Mark 12:35; Luke 20:41; John 7:42; 4 Ezra 12:32; Targum Jonathan on Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5, 33:15). Hence, Son of David is a usual title of the Messiah (frequently in the New Testament υἱὸς Δαυίδ; in Targum Jonathan on Hosea 3:5, בַּר דָּיִד; in the Shemoneh Esreh, 15th Berachah, צֶמַח דָּוִד). As Davidic He was also to be born in Bethlehem, the town of David (Micah 5:1 with the Targum; Matt. 2:5; John 7:41, 42).
Whether pre-Christian Judaism regarded the Messiah as simply human, or as a being of a higher order, and especially whether it attributed to him pre-existence, cannot, with the uncertainty about the dates of authorities, be positively decided. The original Messianic hope did not expect an individual Messiah at all, but theocratic kings of the house of David. Subsequently the hope was consolidated and raised more and more into the expectation of a personal Messiah as a ruler endowed by God with special gifts and powers. In the time of Christ this form had at all events long been the prevailing one. But this naturally implies that the picture would more and more acquire superhuman features. The more exceptional the position awarded to the Messiah, the more does He Himself step forth from ordinary human limits. In the freedom with which the religious circle of ideas moved, this was effected in a very different fashion. In general however the Messiah was thought of as a human king and ruler, but as one endowed by God with special gifts and powers. This is especially evident in the Solomonian Psalter. He here appears as altogether a human king (17:23, 47), but a righteous one (17:35), free from sin and holy (17:41, 46), endowed by the Holy Ghost with power, wisdom and righteousness (17:42). It is the same view, only briefly expressed, which designates him as ἁγνὸς ἄναξ (Orac. Sibyll. 3:49). Elsewhere, on the other hand, even pre-existence is ascribed to him, and his whole appearing raised more to the superhuman. So especially in the figurative addresses in the Book of Enoch. It must not indeed be reckoned in this respect, that he is, as already mentioned, called the Son of God. For the official predicate tells us nothing at all of His nature; nor does His designation in Enoch as the Son of man of itself tell us anything. The whole view of His person is however in both the above-named works one essential super-natural. In the figurative addresses in the Book of Enoch, it is said of Him: He was (before his manifestation on earth) hidden and kept with God (46:1, 2, 62:7). His name was named before the Lord of spirits, before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars were made (48:3). He was chosen and was hidden with God before the world was created, and will be with Him to eternity (48:6). His countenance is as the appearance of a man, and full of grace, like one of the holy angels (46:1). It is he, who has righteousness, with whom righteousness dwells, and who reveals all the treasures of that which is concealed, because the Lord of spirits has chosen him, and his lot before the Lord of spirits has surpassed everything through uprightness for ever (46:3). His glory is from eternity to eternity, and his power from generation to generation. In him dwells the spirit of wisdom, and the spirit of Him who gives knowledge, and the spirit of instruction and strength, and the spirit of those who have fallen asleep in righteousness. And he will judge the hidden things, and no one will be able to hold vain discourse before him, for he is chosen before the Lord of spirits according to his good pleasure (49:2–4). In essential agreement with this are the expressions of the fourth Book of Ezra. Compare especially 12:32: Hic est Unctus, quem reservavit Altissimus in finem; and 13:24: Ipse est, quem conservat Altissimus multis temporibus. As his pre-existence is here expressly taught, so is it presupposed when it is promised to Ezra, that after his admission into heaven he will return with the Messiah (tu enim recipieris ab hominibus, et converteris residuum cum filio meo et cum similibus tuis, usquequo finiantur tempora). And quite in accordance with Enoch is his pre-existence designated as a state of concealment with God (13:52): Sicut non potest hoc vel scrutinare vel scire quis, quid sit in profundo maris, sic non poterit quisque super terram videre filium meum, vel eos qui cum eo sunt, nisi in tempore diei. It has been in many respects attempted, but hardly with justice, to refer this entire series of thought to Christian influences. It is indeed perfectly comprehensible from Old Testament premises. Such expressions as Micah 5:2, that the origins of Messiah are from of old, from the days of eternity (מִקֶּרֶם מִימֵי עוֹלָם), might easily be understood in the sense of a pre-existence from eternity. Besides, the passage Dan. 7:13–14 need only be understood of the person of the Messiah and taken literally, and the doctrine of the pre-existence is already stated. For it is self-evident, that he who comes down from heaven, was before in heaven. This view was favoured by the fact that the whole course of the development tended towards the notion, that everything truly valuable previously existed in heaven. On the other hand, many traces show that post-Christian Judaism, far from elevating the person of the Messiah, under Christian influence to the supernatural, strongly emphasized the human side in opposition to Christianity. We need only recall the saying in Justin’s Dialogus cum Tryphone, c. 49: πάντες ἡμεῖς τὸν Χριστὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐξ ἀνθρώπων προσδοκῶμεν γενήσεσθαι. And akin with this is a Talmudic passage Jer. Taanith ii. 1 (given by Oehler, ix. 437, 2nd ed. 667): “R. Abbahu said: If a man says to thee—I am God, he lies; I am the Son of man, he will at last repent it; I ascend to heaven, if he said it he will not prove it.” Thus it was just the humanity upon which post-Christian Judaism strongly insisted. And so much the less cause have we to refer the view of the pre-existence to Christian influence.
Concerning the time of Messiah’s appearing the later Rabbis made all manner of ingenious computations. The view that the present world would last six thousand years, corresponding to the six days of creation, because one day is with God as a thousand years, seems to have been pretty widely disseminated. But the date of the advent of Messiah seems under this presupposition to have been very variously computed, according as his days were identified with the future עוֹלם or still reckoned in the present עוֹלָם (comp. below, No. 9). According to the former and older view, the Messianic period would begin after the lapse of the sixth thousand (so Barnabas, Irenaeus and others). On the latter supposition (that the days of the Messiah belonged to the present עוֹלָם), the present course of the world was divided into three periods: 2000 years without law, 2000 years under the law, and 2000 years of the Messianic period. According to this computation the time appointed for the Messiah’s advent had already arrived, but he could not yet appear because of the transgressions of the people. This latter was, at least in rigidly legal circles, the general view: the Messiah cannot come until the people repent and perfectly fulfil the law. “If all Israel would together repent for a whole day, the redemption by Messiah would ensue.” If Israel would only keep two Sabbaths properly, we should be immediately redeemed.
The manner of Messiah’s advent is represented as sudden all at once he is there and appears as a victorious ruler. As on the other hand it is assumed, that he is born as a child in Bethlehem, the two views are combined by the admission, that he will at first live in concealment and then suddenly come forth from concealment. Therefore the Jews say in John 7:27: ὁ Χριστὸς ὅταν ἔρχηται, οὐδεὶς γινώσκει πόθεν ἐστίν. And in Justin’s Dialogus cum Tryphone it is just on this account that the possibility, that Messiah may have already been born, is left open to the representative of the Jewish view. It is related in the Jerusalem Talmud, that the Messiah was born on the day the temple was destroyed, but some time after carried away from his mother by a tempest.43 In the Targum on Micah 4:8 also, it is assumed that he is already present, but still concealed, and that because of the sins of the people. In later writers is found the view that he would proceed from Rome. The belief that he would at his advent authenticate himself by miracles was universal (Matt. 11:4 sqq.; Luke 7:22 sqq.; John 7:31).
4. Last attack of the hostile powers.
After the appearing of the Messiah, the heathen powers will assemble against him for a last attack. This expectation too was suggested by Old Testament passages, especially by Dan. 11. It is very plainly expressed Orac. Sibyll. 3:663 sqq. and 4 Ezra 13:33 sqq., also in Enoch 90:16, only that here it is not an attack against Messiah, but against the people of God. It is frequently held, that this last attack takes place under the leadership of a chief adversary of the Messiah, of an “Antichrist” (the name is in the N. T. in the Johannean Epistles, 1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7; the thing in Apoc. Baruch c. 40; 2 Thess. 2; Rev. 13). In later Rabbinic authorities the enigmatical name Armilus (ארמילוס) occurs for this chief adversary of the people of Israel. The reappearance of Gog and Magog is also expected on the ground of Ezek. 38–39, but as a rule not till after the close of the Messianic kingdom, as a last manifestation of the ungodly powers (Rev. 20:8, 9).
5. Destruction of the Hostile Powers.
The destruction of the hostile powers takes place according to Old Testament prediction by means of a great judgment, inflicted by God Himself upon His adversaries.50 This view is most faithfully adhered to in the Assumptio Mosis, the tenth chapter of which in many respects recalls Joel chaps, 2 and 3 Closely akin to it is the statement in the groundwork of the Book of Enoch, inasmuch as here too God Himself destroys the power of the heathen nations (90:18, 19) and then sits in judgment, at which judgment however only the fallen and disobedient angels and the apostate Israelites (the blinded sheep) are condemned (90:20–27), while the heathen nations submit to the people of God (90:30). The Messiah, who is altogether absent in the Assumptio Mosis, here first appears after the judgment (90:37). It is common to both, that it is God Himself who sits in judgment. The ordinary notion however was, that the Messiah would destroy the hostile powers. Already in the oldest Sibyllist (3:652 sqq.) he appears “to put an end to all war upon earth, killing some and fulfilling the promises given to others.” In Philo (De praem. et poen. § 16) it is said of him, that he “takes the field and makes war and will subdue great and populous nations.” Still more clearly does he appear in the Psalterium Salomonis as the conqueror of the heathen adversaries of God’s people, and it is here specially noteworthy, that he overthrows his enemies by the mere word of his mouth (ἐν λόγῳ στόματος αὐτοῦ, according to Isa. 11:4). In entire agreement with these older types is the destruction of the heathen world-powers represented in the Apocalypse of Baruch and the fourth Book of Ezra as the first act of the Messiah, when he appears (Apoc. Baruch 39:7–40:2, 70:9, 72:2–6; 4 Ezra 12:32, 33, 13:27, 28, 35–38). The only difference is, that, according to the fourth Book of Ezra, this destruction results from a sentence of God’s anointed (13:28: non tenebat frameam neque vas bellicosum; 13:28: perdet eos sine labore per legem), while in the Apocalypse of Baruch although forensic forms are spoken of, yet weapons of war are also mentioned (the former 40:1, 2, the latter 72:6). Still more decidedly than in the fourth Book of Ezra, is the judgment of the Messiah upon an ungodly world described as purely forensic in the figurative addresses in the Book of Enoch. One might indeed feel tempted to ascribe to this book also the view of a war of extermination, since it is said of the Son of man, chap. 46:4–6, that he stirs up the kings and the mighty ones from their beds, loosens the bridles of the powerful and breaks the teeth of sinners; that he thrusts kings from their thrones and out of their kingdoms, and (52:4–9) that nothing on earth is able to resist his power. “There will be no iron for war, nor coat of mail; brass will be of no avail, and tin will be of no avail and will be of no esteem, and lead will not be desired.” But in other places it is repeatedly said, that the elect, the Son of man, will sit upon the throne of His glory to judge men and angels (45:3, 55:4, 69:27, 61:8, 9). In the chief passage also, chap. 62., the judgment is described in purely forensic forms. The Lord of spirits sits upon the throne of his glory (62:2), and the Son of the woman, the Son of man, sits upon the throne of his glory (62:5 sqq.). And the kings and mighty ones of the earth are struck when they see him with fear and terror, and extol and praise and supplicate him, and entreat mercy from him (62:4–9). But the Lord of spirits will reject them, so that they will speedily flee before his face, and their faces be filled with shame. And the avenging angels will receive them, to exercise retribution upon them, for having ill-treated his children and his elect (62:10, 11). Finally, we again find in the Targums the view, that the Messiah overcomes his enemies in battle, as a mighty hero. So in Jonathan on Isa. 10:27: “The nations are crushed by the Messiah;” and especially in Pseudo-Jonathan and Jerushalmi on Gen. 49:11: “How beautiful is King Messiah, who will proceed from the house of Judah. He girds his loins and enters the field and sets the battle in array against his foes and kills kings.” We just see from all this, that the general idea of a destruction of the anti-godly powers by the Messiah is fashioned very variously as to its particulars. Not till after the destruction of the ungodly can the Messianic age appear, For “as long as there are sinners in the world, so long does the wrath of God endure, but as they disappear from the world the divine wrath also vanishes.”
Since the Messianic kingdom is to be set up in the Holy Land (comp. e.g. 4 Ezra 9:9), Jerusalem itself must first of all be renovated. This was however expected in diverse manners. In the simplest it was regarded only as a purification of the holy city, especially “from the heathen, who now tread it under foot” (Psalt. Salom. 17:25, 33). After the destruction of Jerusalem it took the form of a rebuilding and indeed of a rebuilding “to an eternal building” (Shemoneh Esreh, 14th Berachah). With this is however found the view, that already in the pre-Messianic time a far more glorious Jerusalem than the earthly exists with God in heaven, and that this will, at the commencement of the Messianic age, descend to earth. The Old Testament foundation for this hope is especially Ezek. 40–48, also Isa. 54:11 sqq., 60; Hag. 2:7–9; Zech. 2:6–13; the new Jerusalem described in these passages being conceived of as now already existing in heaven. This ἄνω Ἱερουσαλήμ (Gal. 4:26), Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐπουράνιος (Heb. 12:22) καινὴ Ἱερουσαλήμ (Rev. 3:12, 21:2, 10) is also, as is well known, often spoken of in the New Testament; comp. also Test. Dan. c. 5: ἡ νέα Ἱερουσαλήμ. According to the Apocalypse of Baruch, this heavenly Jerusalem was originally in Paradise before Adam sinned. But when he transgressed the command of God, it was taken from him, as was also Paradise, and preserved in heaven. It was afterwards shown in a vision of the night to Abraham, and also to Moses upon Mount Sinai (Apoc. Baruch 4:2–6). Ezra too saw it in a vision (4 Ezra 10:44–59). This new and glorious Jerusalem is then to appear on earth in the place of the old one, which it will far surpass in pomp and beauty, Enoch 53:6, 90:28, 29; 4 Ezra 7:26. Comp. also Apoc. Baruch 32:4.
7. Gathering of the Dispersed.
That the dispersed of Israel would share in the Messianic kingdom, and for this purpose return to Palestine, was so self-evident, that this hope would have been cherished even without the definite predictions of the Old Testament. The Psalterium Salomonis (Ps. 11) poetically describes how the dispersed of Israel will assemble from the west and east, from the north and from the Isles, and come to Jerusalem. The Greek Book of Baruch expresses a partly verbal agreement with the Psalt. Sal. (2:36, 37, 5:5–9). Philo sees the dispersed under the leadership of a divine appearance coming from all quarters to Jerusalem (De exsecrationibus, § 8–9). The prediction too of Isaiah, that the heathen nations shall themselves bring the dispersed as an offering to the temple (Isa. 49:22, 60:4, 9, 66:20) reappears in the Psalt. Salom. (17:34), while the gathering is at the same time described as the work of the Messiah (Psalt. Salom. 17:28. Jonathan on Jerem. 33:13). According to the fourth Book of Ezra, the ten tribes departed into a hitherto uninhabited country called Azareth (so the Latin version) or Arzaph (finis mundi, so the Syrian), that they might there observe their laws. Thence will they return at the commencement of the Messianic period, and the Most High will dry up the sources of the Euphrates, that they may pass over (4 Ezra 13:39–47). With this universal hope of the gathering of the dispersed, it is striking, that the return of the ten tribes is altogether doubted by individuals like R. Akiba. From the daily prayer however of the Shemoneh Esreh: “Lift up a banner to gather our dispersed and assemble us from the four ends of the earth,” it is seen that such doubts were confined to individuals.
8. The kingdom of glory in Palestine.
The Messianic kingdom will indeed have the Messianic King at its head, but its supreme ruler is God Himself (comp. e.g. Orac. Sibyll. 3:704–706, 717, 756–759; Psalt. Salom. 17:1, 38, 51; Shemoneh Esreh, 11th Berachah. Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 1). With the setting up of this kingdom, the idea of God’s kingship over Israel becomes full reality and truth. God is indeed already the King of Israel. He does not however exercise His kingship to its full extent, but on the contrary temporarily exposes His people to the heathen world-powers, to chastise them for their sins. In the glorious future kingdom He again takes the government into His own hand. Hence it is called in contrast to the heathen kingdoms, the kingdom of God (βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, in the New Testament, especially in Mark and Luke. Sibyll. 3:47, 48: βασιλεία μεγίστη ἀθανάτου βασιλῆος. Comp. Psalt. Salom. 17:4; Assumptio Mosis 10:1, 3). Of similar meaning is the expression occurring in Matthew, βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, “kingdom of heaven.” For “heaven” here is, according to a very current Jewish expression, a metonymy for God. It is the kingdom, which is governed not by earthly powers, but by heaven.58
The Holy Land forms the central point of this kingdom. Hence “to inherit the land” is equivalent to having part in the Messianic kingdom. But it is not confined to the limits of Palestine; on the contrary, it is as a rule conceived of as in some way or other comprising the whole world.60 Already, in the Old Testament, it was predicted that the Gentiles too should acknowledge the God of Israel as the supreme Judge (Isa. 2:2 sqq.; Micah 4:1 sqq., 7:16 sq.), be converted to Him (Isa. 42:1–6, 49:6, 51:4, 5; Jer. 3:17, 16:19 sq.; Zeph. 2:11, 3:9; Zech. 8:20 sqq.), and be consequently admitted into the theocracy (Isa. 55:5, 56:1 sqq.; Jer. 12:14; Zech. 2:12), so that Jahveh is King over the whole earth (Zech. 14:9) and the Messiah a banner for all nations (Isa. 11:10). Most decidedly is power over all the kingdoms of the world promised in the Book of Daniel to the saints of the Most High (Dan. 2:14, 7:14, 27). This hope was also stedfastly adhered to by later Judaism, though in a different manner. According to the Sibyllines the heathen, when they see the quiet and peace of God’s people, will of themselves come to reason, and praise and celebrate the only true God, send gifts to His temple and walk after His laws (Orac. Sibyll. 3:698–726). Then will God set up a kingdom over all men, in which the prophets of God are judges and righteous kings (3:766–783). According to Philo the pious and virtuous receive the rule over the world, because they possess the three qualities, which especially make men competent to be rulers, viz. σεμνότης, δεινότης and εὐεργεσία. And other men submit to them through αἰδώς or φόβος or εὔνοια (De praem. et poen. § 16). Elsewhere the rule of the saints appears more as one founded on power. The heathen do homage to the Messiah, because they perceive that God has given him power (Enoch 90:30, 37. Figurative addressee, xlviii, 5, liii. 1; Psalt. Salom. 17:32–35; Sibyll. 3:49: ἁγνὸς ἄναξ πάσης γῆς σκῆπτρα κρατήσων. Apoc. Baruch 72:5. Targum on Zech. 4:7: The Messiah will rule over all kingdoms). This notion conies forward in the most one-sided form in the Assumptio Mosis, whose author desires nothing more ardently, than that Israel should tread upon the neck of the eagle (10:8: tunc felix eris tu Istrahel, et ascendes supra cervices et alas aquilae). According to the Book of Jubilees (Ewald’s Jahrb. vol. iii. p. 42) it was already promised to Jacob, that kings should go forth from him, who should rule, wherever the children of men had trodden. “And I will give unto thy seed the whole earth, which is under heaven, and they shall rule at their pleasure over all nations, and afterwards they shall draw to themselves the whole earth and inherit it for ever” (comp. also Rom. 4:13, and its expositors, especially Wetzstein).
The Messianic period is moreover described, and that mostly on the ground of Old Testament passages, as one of joy and gladness. All war, strife, discord and quarrels shall cease, and peace, righteousness, love and faithfulness prevail upon earth (Orac. Sibyll. 3:371–380, 751–760. Philo, De praem. et poen. § 16; Apoc. Baruch 73:4, 5). The wild beasts also will lose their enmity to man and serve him (Sibyll. 3:620–623, 743–750; Apoc. Baruch 29:5–8). Wealth and prosperity will prevail among men (Philo, De praem. et poen. § 17–18). The age of man will increase to near upon a thousand years, and yet men will neither be old nor weary of life, but like children and youths (“Jubilees” in Ewald’s Jahrb. iii. 24). All will rejoice in bodily health and strength. Women will bring forth without pain, and the reaper will not weary at his work (Philo, De praem. et poen. § 20. Apoc. Baruch 73:2, 3, 7, 74:1).
These external blessings are not however the only ones. On the contrary, they result from the fact, that the Messianic Church is a holy nation, which God has sanctified, and which the Messiah governs in righteousness. He suffers no unrighteousness to remain in its midst, and there is not a man in it who knows wickedness. There is no unrighteousness among His people, for they are all holy (Psalt. Salom. 17:28, 29, 36, 48, 49, 18:9, 10). Life in the Messianic kingdom is a continual λατρεύειν θεῷ ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ (Luke 1:74, 75). And the rule of Messiah over the heathen world is by no means conceived of as resting only on power, but frequently in such wise, that he is a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 42:6, 49:6, 51:4; Enoch 48:4; Luke 2:32. Comp. especially the already mentioned passages of the Sibyllines, 3:710–726). An Israelite being unable to conceive of a λατρεύειν θεῷ otherwise than in the form of the temple worship and the observance of the law, it is in truth self-evident, that these are not to cease in the Messianic kingdom. In fact this is at least the prevailing view. Hence after the destruction of the temple the daily prayer of the Israelite is for the restoration of the sacrificial ritual (עֲבוֹדָה).
In this glorious future kingdom not only the dispersed members of the nation, but also all deceased Israelites are to participate. They will come forth from their graves to enjoy, with those of their fellow-countrymen who are then living, the happiness of Messiah’s kingdom.
The eschatological expectations of many terminate with this hope of a kingdom of glory in Palestine, seeing its duration is conceived of as everlasting. As Old Testament prophecy had promised to the people of Israel that they should dwell in the land for ever (Jer. 24:6; Ezek. 37:25; Joel 3:20), that David’s throne should never be vacant (Jer. 33:17, 22), and David should always be the king of Israel (Ezek. 37:25), and as, especially in the Book of Daniel, the kingdom of the saints of the Most High is designated an everlasting one (מַלְכוּת עָלַם, Dan. 7:27), so also is eternal duration frequently ascribed to the Messianic kingdom by later writers (Sibyll. 3:766; Psalt. Salom. 17:4; Sibyll. 3:49–50; Enoch 62:14). Hence too the Jews say in. John 12:34: Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, showing that this view was also current in later Jewish theology. Subsequently however the glory of the Messianic kingdom was regarded as not ultimate and supreme, but a still higher and heavenly happiness Was expected after it, and hence a duration bounded by time, the measure of which is fully discussed in the Talmud,68 was ascribed to the reign of the Messiah. The Apocalypse of Baruch and the fourth Book of Ezra, among the more ancient monuments, hold this view the most decidedly. It is indeed said of the Messiah in the former, c. 73:1, that He sits in aeternum super throno regni sui. But what is meant by this is seen from another passage, c. 40:3: Et erit principatus ejus stans in saeculum, donec finiatur mundus corruptionis. Hence the rule of Messiah lasts only as long as this transitory world. Similarly it is said in the fourth Book of Ezra (12:34), that He will redeem and revive the people of God quoadusque veniat finis, dies judicii. Still farther detail is given in the chief passage, 7:28, 29: Jocundabuntur, qui relicti sunt, annis quadragentis. Et erit post annos hos, et morietur filius meus Christus et omnes qui spiramentum habent homines. The duration of Messiah’s kingdom is by others, and also in the above-named passage of the Talmud (Sanhedrin 99a), computed at 400 years. From it we also learn that this computation rests upon Gen. 15:13 (the bondage in Egypt lasted 400 years) compared with Ps. 90:15: “Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us and the years wherein we have seen evil.” Thus the time of happiness is to last as long as the time of affliction. A different calculation is presupposed in the Revelation, the duration being stated at 1000 years, according to the saying in the Psalm, that one day is with God as a thousand years (Rev. 20:4–6). This computation also is mentioned in the Talmud. We see then, that wherever only a temporal duration is ascribed to the kingdom of the Messiah, a renovation of the world and the last judgment are expected at the end of this period.
The hope of a renovation of heaven and earth is chiefly based on Isa. 65:17, 66:22 (comp. also Matt. 19:28; Rev. 21:1; 2 Pet. 3:13). Accordingly a distinction is made between a present and a future world, הָעוֹלָם הַזֵּה and הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, in the New Testament frequently: ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος and ὁ αἰὼν ὁ μέλλων or ὁ ἐρχόμενος (e.g. Matt 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30). But a difference of view arose, inasmuch as some made the new world appear with the beginning of Messiah’s reign, while others placed it after its conclusion. The former is found e.g. in the figurative discourses of the Book of Enoch (c. 45:4, 5), “And at that day I will let my elect dwell among you and will change the heaven and make it an eternal blessing and light. And I will transform the earth and make it a blessing, and cause my elect to dwell in it” (comp. also 91:16). The latter in the fourth Book of Ezra, according to which, after the conclusion of the Messianic period, a deathlike silence of seven days takes place upon earth, which is followed by the dawn of the new and the setting of the old world (7:30, 31). According to these different views the Messianic period is either identified with the future or reckoned as belonging to the present world. The former, e.g. in the Targum of Jonathan on 2 Kings 4:33: “The future world of the Messiah” (עַלְמָא דְאָתֵי דְמְשִׁיחָא), and Mishna, Berachoth i. 5, where the present world (הָעוֹלָם הַוֶּה) and the days of the Messiah (יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ) are opposed to each other, and therefore the latter identified with הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. In the fourth Book of Ezra, on the contrary, the days of the Messiah are reckoned to the present world, and the future world does not begin till the last judgment, which follows the close of the Messianic period (see especially 7:42, 43, with which indeed 6:9 is not easily reconcilable). The book Sifre also distinguishes between “the days of the Messiah” and “the future world.” The older and original view is in any case, that which identifies the days of Messiah with the future עוֹלָם. For the “future course of the world” is in the first place nothing else than the future happy Messianic period (so too in the New Testament). It was not till a higher, a heavenly happiness was hoped for after the close of the Messianic kingdom, that the Messianic period was reckoned as belonging to the present Olam, and the renovation of the world not expected to take place till that period had ended. In later Jewish theology this view became the prevailing one (for particulars, see the literature named note ). Sometimes a position between this world and the world to come is assigned to the Messianic period. This is already found in the Apocalypse of Baruch, 74:2, 3: Tempus illud (the Messianic time) finis est illius quod corrumpitur, et initium illius quod non corrumpitur.… Ideo longe est a malis, et prope iis quae non moriuntur.
A general resurrection of the dead is to take place before the last judgment. So great a variety of views with respect to this point, however, prevails in Jewish theology, that it would lead us too far to enter into details.75 Only the chief points can here be alluded to. The belief in a resurrection or reanimation of the dead (תְּחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים), which is clearly and decidedly expressed for the first time in the Book of Daniel (12:12), was during our period already firmly established (comp. e.g. 2 Macc. 7:9, 14, 23, 36, 12:43, 44; Enoch 51:1; Psalt. Salom. 3:16, 14:2 sqq.; Joseph. Antt. xviii. 1. 3; Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14; Apoc. Baruch 30:1–5, 50:1, 51:6; 4 Ezra 7:32; Testam. XII. Patriarch. Judae, 25.; Benjamin 10.; Shemoneh Esreh, 2 Berachah; Mishna, Sanhedrin x. 1; Aboth iv. 22; comp. also Berachoth v. 2; Sota ix. 15, fin.). At least this applies with respect to all circles influenced by Pharisaism, and these formed by far the majority. Only the Sadducees denied the resurrection, while the Alexandrian theology placed in its stead the immortality of the soul.78 A separation between the just and unjust in the intermediate state between death and the resurrection was a rule accepted, a preliminary state of happiness or torment being allotted to departed souls (see especially Enoch 12 and in 4 Ezra the section rejected in the usual Latin text, c. 6:49–59, according to the computation of the Ethiopic translation, ed. Fritzsche, pp. 607–611). The same expectation lies at the root of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22). In the Apocalypse of Baruch and the fourth Book of Ezra, receptacles (promptuaria), into which the souls of the righteous are received after death, are frequently spoken of (Apoc. Baruch 30:2; 4 Ezra 4:35, 41, 7:32; in the rejected section, c. 7:54, 68, 74, 76, in Bensly, vv. 80, 95, 101). In many passages of the New Testament the hope comes forward, that immediately after death the removal to the state of supreme and heavenly happiness will take place (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Acts 7:59; Rev. 6:9 sqq., 7:9 sqq.), and this is not without analogy in the Jewish view, since here also the same is expected, at least for eminent men of God (not only for Enoch and Elijah, but e.g. also for Ezra and such as him, 4 Ezra 14:9: tu enim recipieris ab hominibus et converteris residuum cum filio meo et cum similibus tuis usquequo finiantur tempora). Established and generally accepted views on this point were not however formed.80 The Apocalypse of Baruch gives detailed disclosures on the resurrection body (50:1–51:6. Comp. also 4 Ezra 6:7 in the rejected section; in Bensly, ver. 9). One main difference in the doctrine of the resurrection consists in the expectation of a resurrection of the righteous only, for the purpose of participating in the Messianic kingdom, or of a general resurrection (of the righteous and the ungodly) to judgment; and that at one time before the commencement of Messiah’s reign, at another after its conclusion. The oldest form is certainly that first named (comp. note ). It is found e.g. in Psalt. Salom. 3:16, 14:2 sqq., but is also mentioned by Josephus as an average Pharisaic opinion (Antt. xviii. 1. 3; Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14). The expectation of a general resurrection to judgment, is the extension of this older resurrection hope. So Daniel, Enoch. Apoc. Baruch, 4 Ezra, Testam. XII. Patriarch., and the Mishna in the above-cited places. Here again the distinction arises, as to whether the resurrection and judgment are expected before the commencement, or after the close of the Messianic period. The former view represented Dan. 12:2, and Enoch 51., is certainly the more ancient, for originally the object of the judgment was to inaugurate the Messianic period. Not till the Messianic blessedness ceased to be regarded as ultimate and supreme, was the judgment also, as the decision on man’s final destiny, transferred to the close of the Messianic age. So especially Apoc. Baruch and 4 Ezra. In the New Testament Apocalypse the expectation of a resurrection of the just before the appearance of the Messianic kingdom is combined with that of a general resurrection after its close. The awakening itself takes place by the sounding of the trump of God (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 These. 4:16. Comp. Matt. 24:31; 4 Ezra 6:23).
11. The Last Judgment, Eternal Salvation and Condemnation.
A last judgment at the close of the Messianic period can only be spoken of, when limited duration is ascribed to the Messianic kingdom. Hence among the older authorities it is only the Apocalypse of Baruch and the fourth Book of Ezra which need here be considered, In the rest the judgment coincides with the destruction of the hostile powers, which takes place before the commencement of Messiah’s reign (see above, No. 5). In the Apocalypse of Baruch, the judgment is but briefly alluded to (50:4). The fourth Book of Ezra (7:33–35 and the rejected section, c. 6:17, in Bensly, pp. 55–58) gives more detail. We here learn that it is God Himself who sits in judgment. Nor can there be any doubt from these two books, that on the day of judgment sentence will be passed not only on the people of Israel, but on the whole race of mankind (Baruch 51:4, 5; Ezra 6:2, in Bensly, p. 55 sq.). It holds good as a general principle, that all Israelites are to share in the world to come (Sanhedrin x. 1: כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לְעוֹלָם הַבָּא). It is self-evident however, that all the sinners of Israel (who are carefully catalogued in the Mishna, Sanhedrin x. 1–4) are excluded. Since sentence is to be passed upon each individual exactly in proportion to his works, the deeds of men are, during their lifetime, written in heavenly books (Enoch 48:7, 8, 54:7, also 89–90. Book of Jubilees in Ewald’s Jahrb. iii. 38, and elsewhere. Test. XII, Patr. Aser 7. Mishna, Aboth ii. 1. Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 20:15. Hermas, Vis. i. 3. 2), and sentence is passed according to the contents of these books. The ungodly are cast into the fire of Gehenna (Baruch 44:15, 51:1, 2, 4, 6; Ezra 6:1–3, 5, in Bensly, pp. 55 sq., 64). This condemnation is as a rule regarded as everlasting.86 But the view is also met with of a temporal duration to the punishments of hell, giving them only the signification of a purgatory. The righteous and godly are received into Paradise, and dwell in the high places of that world, and see the glory of God and of His holy angels. Their countenance will shine like the sun, and they will live for ever (Dan. 12:3; Baruch 51:3, 7–14; Ezra 6:1–3, 6–7, in Bensly, pp. 55 sq., 69 sq. Comp. also Assumptio Mosis 10:9, 10).
12. Appendix. The suffering Messiah.
So far we have had no occasion to speak of the sufferings, or of any atoning death of the Messiah. For the prediction in the fourth Book of Ezra, that the Messiah should die after reigning 400 years (4 Ezra 7:28, 29), has evidently nothing in common with the idea of an atoning death. But the question, whether Judaism in the age of Christ expected a suffering Messiah, and indeed a Messiah suffering and dying as an atonement for the sins of men, must not be left undiscussed. According to what has been said, the question seems answered, as indeed it has been by many (especially after the most thorough investigation by De Wette), in the negative. Others, on the contrary, as e.g. Wünsche, think it may be as decidedly answered in the affirmative. Certainly the sufferings of the Messiah are repeatedly spoken of in the Talmud. From the word וַהֲרִיחוֹ, Isa. 11:3, it is inferred that God loaded the Messiah with commands and sorrows like mill-stones (במצות ויסורין כרחים). In another passage Messiah is described as sitting at the gates of Rome and binding and unbinding His wounds.91 More important is it, that in Justin’s Dialogus cum Tryphone it is repeatedly admitted, nay asserted as self-evident by the representative of the Jewish standpoint, that the Messiah mast suffer. “When we name to them (relates Justin, c. 68) the passages of Scripture, which clearly prove that the Messiah must suffer, and is to be worshipped, and is God, they admit unwillingly indeed, that the Messiah is there spoken of; but nevertheless they venture to maintain, that this (Jesus) is not the Messiah. On the contrary, they believe that He will first come and suffer and rule and be a God worthy of adoration.” Still more decidedly does Trypho express himself in another passage, c. 89: Παθητὸν μὲν τὸν Χριστὸν ὅτι αἱ γραφαὶ κηρύσσουσι, φανερόν ἐστιν· εἰ δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ κεκατηραμένου πάθους, βουλόμεθα μαθεῖν, εἰ ἔχεις καὶ περὶ τούτου ἀποδεῖξαι. Here indeed only sufferings in general, and not atoning sufferings, are spoken of, and the idea of death by crucifixion is decidedly rejected. But passages are also found, in which, in conformity with Isa. 53:4 sqq., a suffering for the sake of the human race is spoken of. Thus among other names that of Chulja (חוליא the sick, or according to another reading חִיוָּרָא, the leper) is at one time attributed to the Messiah, and this is justified by an appeal to Isa. 53:4: “Surely He has borne our sicknesses and taken upon Himself our sorrows; but we esteemed Him one stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” According to the book Sifre, R. Joses the Galilean says: “King Messiah has been humbled and made contemptible on account of the rebellious, as it is said, He was wounded for our transgressions, etc. (Isa. 53:5). How much more will He make satisfaction therefore for all generations, as it is written, ‘And the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6).’ ” The latter passage already shows, that in the second century after Christ, Isa. 53:4 sqq. was in many circles explained of the Messiah. This is confirmed by the saying of Trypho, in Justin’s Dial. c. Tryph. c. 90: Παθεῖν μὲν γὰρ καὶ ὡς πρόβατον ἀχθήσεσθαι οἴδαμεν· εἰ δὲ καὶ σταυρωθῆναι κ.τ.λ. Thus the Jewish opponent of Justin admitted that Isa. 53:7 is to be referred to the Messiah. Consequently it cannot be disputed, that in the second century after Christ the idea of a suffering Messiah, and indeed of a Messiah suffering as an atonement for human sin, was, at least in certain circles, a familiar one. In this respect a thought, which in itself was quite current in Rabbinic Judaism, was applied to the Messiah, viz. the thought that the perfectly righteous man not only fulfils all the commandments, but also atones by sufferings for sins that may have been committed, and that the overplus suffering of the righteous man is of service to others. But however much the idea of a suffering Messiah is from these premises conceivable on the soil of Judaism, just as little did it become the prevailing view of Judaism. The, so to speak official, Targum Jonathan allows indeed the reference of Isa. 53 to the Messiah to remain on the whole, but denies the application to him of just those verses, which treat of the sufferings of the servant of God. In not one of the numerous works discussed by us have we found even the slightest allusion to an atoning suffering of Messiah. That the Jews were far from entertaining such an idea, is abundantly proved by the conduct of both the disciples and opponents of Jesus (Matt. 16:22; Luke 18:34, 24:21; John 12:34). Accordingly it may well be said, that it was on the whole one quite foreign to Judaism in general.
- Schöttgen, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae, vol. ii. De Messia, 1742. (A work of eminent scholarship, but ruled by the effort to make the Rabbis into Christian theologians. Even the doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum is proved from Rabbinic works.)
- Bertholdt, Christologia Judaeorum Jesu apostolorumque aetate in compendium redacta observationibusque illustrata. Erlangae 1811.
- Moraht, De iis, quae ad cognoscendam Judaeorum Palaestinensium, qui Jesu tempore vivebant, Christologiam evangelia nobis exhibeant, deque locis messianis in illis allegatis. Gotting. 1828.
- De Wette, Biblische Dogmatik Alten und Neuen Testaments (3rd ed. 1831), pp. 159–179. The same, Commentatio de morte Jesu Christi expiatoria (Opuscula theologica, 1830, pp. 1–148).
- Von Cölln, Biblische Theologie, vol. i. (1836), pp. 479–511.
- Mack, Die messianischen Erwartungen und Ansichten der Zeitgenossen Jesu (Tüb. Theol. Quartalschr. 1836, pp. 3–56, 193–226).
- Gfrörer, Das Jahrhundert des Heils (also under the title, Gesch. des Urchristenthums, vols. i.–ii. 1838), ii. 195–444.
- Bauer (Bruno), Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker, vol. i. 1841, pp. 391–416.
- Zeller, On the Assertion that prae-Christian Judaism had no Messianic Dogmatic (Theol. Jahrb. 1843, pp. 35–52).
- Hellwag, Baur, and Zeller’s Theol. Jahrb. 1848, pp. 151–160 (in the article, On the notion of the pre-existence of Christ in the primitive Church).
- Hilgenfeld, Die jüdische Apokalyptik in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwickelung. Jena 1857.
- Oehler, art. “Messias,” in Herzog’s Real-Enc., 1st ed. vol. ix. p. 408 sqq., 422–441. In the 2d ed. revised by Orelli, ix. 641 ff.
- Colani, Jésus-Christ et les croyances messianiques de son temps, 2nd ed. Strasbourg 1864, pp. 1–68.
- Langen, Das Judenthum in Palästina zur Zeit Christi. Freiburg 1866, pp. 391–461.
- Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. v. (3rd ed. 1867) pp. 135–160.
- Keim, Geschichte Jesu, vol. i. 1867, pp. 239–250.
- Holtzman, Die Messiasidee zur Zeit Jesu (Jahrbb. für deutsche Theol. 1867, pp. 389–411). The same in Weber and Holtzmann’s Gesch. des Volkes Israel (1867), ii. 191–211.
- Hausrath, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, vol. i. (2nd ed. 1873) pp. 165–176.
- Weiffenbach, Quae Jesu in regno coelesti dignitas sit synopticorum sententia exponitur (Gissae 1868), pp. 47–62.
- Ebrard, Wissenschaftl. Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte (3rd ed. 1868), pp. 835–849.
- Wittichen, Die Idee des Reiches Gottes, dritter Beitrag zur biblischen Thevlogie insbesondere der synoptichen Reden Jesu (Göttingen 1872), pp. 105–165.
- Anger, Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der messianischen Idee, edited by Krenkel (Berlin 1873), pp. 78–91.
- Castelli, Il Messia secondo gli Ebrei, Firenze 1874 (p. 358).
- Vernes, Histoire des idées messianiques depuis Alexandre jusqu’ à l’empereur Hadrien, Paris 1874 (p. 294).
- Stähelin, Jahrb. für deutsch Theologie, 1874, pp. 199–218 (in the article, Zur paulinischen Eschatologie).
- Schönefeld, Ueber die messianische Hoffnung von 200 vor Christo bis gegen 50 nach Christo, Jena 1874.
- Drummond, The Jewish Messiah, a Critical History of the Messianic Idea among the Jews from the rise of the Maccabees to the closing of the Talmud, London 1877 (p. 395).
- Stapfer, Les idées religieuses en Palestine à l’époque de Jésus-Christ (2nd ed. 1878), pp. 111–182.
- Weber, System der altsynagogalen palästinischen Theologie aus Targum, Midrasch und Talmud dargestellt (Leipzig 1880), pp. 322–386.
- Reuss, Geschichte der heiligen Schriften Alten Testaments (1881), § 555, 556.
- Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie für Bibel und Talmud, Div. ii. (1883), arts. “Messianische Leidenszeit,” “Messias,” “Messiasleiden,” “Messias Sohn Joseph,” “Messiaszeit” (pp. 735–779). Comp. also “Armilus,” “Belebung der Todten,” “Ewiges Leben,” “Lohn und Strafe,” “Paradies,” “Vergeltung,” “Zukunftsmahl.”