Cherubic Emblems Of Messiahs Glory

subjecting all earthly things beneath his throne.

Once (and I dare say it is not a solitary case) I was in the habit of regarding, traditionally and without any careful investigation of the question, the opening vision of Ezekiel's prophecy as a pure spiritual vision of God enthroned on high in supernatural glory, unapproachable by and unintelligible to man. But this should not be, for it perverts the true spiritual instruction of the prophecy into that of a vain and profitless superstition.

The imagery used by all God's prophets must have been drawn from sources openly appreciable by the men of the generation to which they were sent, otherwise their words would have been unintelligible ; yet we account them to have been sent with a mission of God for the instruction of their fellow-beings.

It is not, therefore, reverential to interpret the figurative language in which their typical or symbolic instruction was expressed as if God's prophets had been divinely commissioned to use unintelligible means for conveying an instruction of professedly vital importance to Israel, or at least to the spiritually minded of the then Jewish nation.

Having now carefully compared this opening to Ezekiel's visions of God with his vision of the oblation and temple at the end of his book of prophecy, I have come to the conclusion that the imagery is not supernatural, but one of a mixed symbolism. For it represents, on the one hand, the Astro-theology of the ancient oriental nations respecting " heaven as God's throne." But, on the other, the symbolism is earthly and material, being borrowed from the idolatry of the Assyrians and Egyptians respecting the Divine government of the world being divided between gods many and lords many, as a corruption of the primeval religion, which the prophets of the Jewish nation were continuously commissioned to denounce.

My proof is twofold—lsi. From the internal evidence of the hook • 2d. From the confirmation given thereto by the recently discovered sculptures brought from Mosul, or ancient Nineveh, and corresponding to others found in the neighbourhood of Car-chemish, or Circesium, by the mouth of the river Chebar, or Cha-boras, where Ezekiel was amongst his captive brethren when he saw these visions.*

AVe must remember that this was situated in the northern parts of the plains of Shinar, and that Tell in the word Tell-abib (or " Mound of the ears of corn'') means an artificial mound. It is supposed to be " Thallaba," and from iii, 15, seems to have been the place of Ezckiel's residence throughout the series of his visions.

We are thus scripturally introduced to the prophet when receiving of God an instruction of Divine inspiration respecting the future to Israel and Babylon, as he stood, b.c. 595 (like Paul upon the hill of Mars at Athens, Acts xvii, 22-23), and beheld in amazement the colossal symbols of Babylonian pride by which the people idolatrously worshipped an unknown God. For they seemingly attributed their then great national glory to the idea that Israel's God had come with his captive people to Babylon, and infused a more powerful spirit into the nation than that of their own idols.

Though a later date (viz., b.c. 580) is in the margin of our Bibles assigned to Nebuchadnezzar's decree (Dan. iii, 29), he was first inspired to worship the God of Israel, as more powerful than his own God, when Daniel told him his prophetic dream and the tine interpretation thereof, b.c. 603.—Dan. ii, 46-49.

In the opening of Ezekiel's book of prophecy God is represented as inspiring him in the land of his captivity with a prophetic instruction, the imagery of which is (as before observed) partly of an Astro-theological origin, for " heaven t as God's throne," and partly taken from the idolatrous symbols of Babylonian pride and glory with which he was there surrounded. But the idolatrous symbol of Babylonian greatness, augmented by that of Egypt and Israel made tributary thereto (Is. xix, 23-25 • xxvii, 13 ; xxxv, 8, with John xv, 6) is modified 'prophetically when made four-headed to extend over the times limited in Daniel's prophecy on the power

* See Layard's Nineveh, pp. 2S2-2S4, on the Winged Bull at Arban. + See notes on Aphophis, «fee., p. 59.

of the Jewish Church under association with that of heathen dominion from the days of Nebuchadnezzar as the golden head of the colossal image (Dan. ii, 38), and probably the human head of this four-headed symbol.

Thus the times prophetically ordained for the ingathering of the Gentiles into one fold with Israel are represented as beginning in the days of Nebuchadnezzar; and under circumstances of the Babylonian captivity, as ordained " for good,"—Jerem. xxiv, 5.

But "the fulness of the Gentiles," or of the time appointed for making the Gentiles spiritually and eternally one with Israel, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was to be the event which should realise before men the establishment of God's new covenant with Israel, by the cessation of the typical or Mosaic Dispensation. For then, as it were, all the works of God should be subjected of God to support the throne of Messiah's glory ; being thus subjected in power unto Him, for the good of man whilst living in the obedience of faith.—Rev. v, 13 ; Rev. xvi, 25-26. Hence the calling in of the Gentiles from the days of Nebuchadnezzar foreshadowed the times appointed for a fuller manifestation of Messiah's earthly reign, to be realised only by the fall of the then Jewish church. This was the falling and rising again of many in Israel to which Simeon referred (Luke ii, 34) in terms confirmed by St Paul,—Bom. xi, 7-26.

Thus, like St Paul at Athens (when standing on Mars Hill, and there beholding the symbol of Athenian superstition, he felt the inspiration of his gospel mission, to proclaim therefrom the true and spiritual worship of God, which constitutes the abiding glory and universality of Christ's kingdom on earth), we must here consider Ezekiel as receiving his first inspiration of God whilst surrounded by the idolatrous symbols of that national greatness to which the power of Babylon had been raised under Nebuchadnezzar, by the will of God, for the beginning of a purpose of mercy to be determined over all flesh,—Jerem. xxvii, 8-12 ; xxix, 10-15.

Also, whilst bodily at his own house at Tel-abib, by the river Chebar, he is there translated in spirit to Jerusalem ; to see and compare with the symbols around him when living in the land of idolaters those corresponding emblems which then adorned the inside and outside walls of God's temple at Jerusalem. For there, instead of the cherubic figures with which God had ordered the hangings of the tabernacle to be decorated, we read that the vision set before him was made (literally and figuratively to represent the idolatrous tendencies of many in Israel) like that, in the land of idolatrous Babylon, by the river Chebar. Thus we reatT (Ezek. viii, 10)—" So I went in and saw, and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the walls round about."

He then describes a vision of the seventy elders of Israel and the chief priests; or the twenty-four heads of the twenty-four courses of the priests, with their high priest as supreme over them. He further represents them in the act of making the sacrificial ordinances of God, under the Mosaic law, no better than those of heathen idolatry before God, by the spirit in which they made their offerings.—Isaiah i, 10-21; Jerem. ii, 8-14.

Again, this vision of God respecting Jerusalem, is in Ezek. xl, 1-4; xli, 3, 4, repeated (but under a variation of the symbolism, Ezek. xliii, 3) to characterise the times and circumstances under which, after the predicted restoration of the kingdom to Israel by Cyrus (xliv, 28), the glory of the Lord should come " into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is towards the east; i.e., through the entrance reserved for the high priest only. This has reference to the times of that change in the priesthood by which Christ became our High Priest, by a freewill offering of Himself, as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the whole world, and once for all.—Heb. ix, 26-28 ; x, 12; 22 ; with John xi, 47-54.

In Ezek. xliii, 1-13, we have an express declaration that the measurements and ordinances therein given respecting the temple and sacrificial ordinances, &c. &c., in the days of the restored kingdom, were to be considered and interpreted as of typical import. This might have been a guide for the Jew to have seen that Christ spake of the temple of his body (John ii, 18-23 ; Mark xiv, 57-58) as the temple of God's presence in the heart of his people, when made truly his by adoption, through sanctification by the gift of the Holy Ghost, as the eternal spirit of God's new covenant with Israel.—Jerem. xxxi, 31-35 ; Heb. viii, 8-13.

The material temple of the typically sacrificial worship instituted by Moses was thus (like the fleshly tabernacle of man's living spirit, in Rev. xi, 1-14) prophetically accounted as the outer court of God's typical tabernacle compared with its inner sanctuary. The form of the inner sanctuary, considered as a perfect cube in the material temple, symbolised the spiritual elevation of man in heart and hope towards heaven, or upwards, wheresoever the gospel of

Christ should be received in spirit and in truth (John iv, 21-27) on earth, or towards the four winds of heaven.—Dan. vii, 2 ; viii, 8, 22; xv, 4; Rev. ix, 13, 14, with Zech. i, 18, 20; vi, 1-9, and Ezek. xxxvii, 9 ; xl, 41 ; xliii, 15 ; Matt. xxiv. 31 ; Mark xiii, 27.

In my answer to the objection* raised against my book on Ezekiel's vision of the restored oblation of the Holy Land, with the dedication of a new and eternal temple to God therein, before the Redeemer should go forth out of Zion (Isaiah ii, 3 ; Luke xxiv, 47 ; Acts i, 4; ii,5 to end), I have entered largely on the subject of the cherubic figures referred to in the prophecies of Ezekiel. For those seen at Jerusalem in the latter days of the first temple had their acknowledged counterparts in the idolatrous emblems of Babylonian national glory, as seen by Ezekiel near the river Chebar.—Cap. viii, 10.

The details of the locomotive machinery seem to require some additional remarks. I believe them to have been partially borrowed from the astronomical science of the ancients. For the idea of " a wheel within a wheel," seems to represent the orbits of the planets as epicycles, according to the Ptolemaic astronomy. The idea which attributes their moving power to the wind, in its mystic relation to the spirit of God (or ruach), as the Lord and giver of life and motion to all created things, is that of Enoch's philosophy.

They were also borrowed in part from the inventions devised by the heathen, when mechanically characterising the attributes of their gods, in modelled form, and by pictorial or sculptured representation of those ideas, which philosophers are wont to realise to their own minds by abstract reasonings, whilst the less educated population was instructed therein by symbols. These are described below.

First. When the four living creatures stood they let down their wings.—Ezek. 1, 24, 25.

Second. There was the appearance of a man's hands under their wings, on their four sides (viz., on the outside view of all four).—Ezek. i, 8 ; x, 8.

This might be at the point where the movement was communicated from the cranks of the wheels to the wings, through the medium of a leverage connected with the fifth leg. This artificial covering of the mechanical power used, may be referred to prophetically in a double sense, lsi. Simply to express the fact in its relation to a mechanical contrivance for introducing the scroll or

* See Tract—" Thy Kingdom come :" Published by Marsh, York, &c.

roll of tjtf book of Ezekiel's prophetic niisyon,—Qjjj. ii, 9 ; x, 2-10. 2d. Ii-onically (Isaiah xliv, 9-21), to mark the hand of man in the structure of those heathen idols, which seem to have formed the subject of the Assyrian sculptures. For to these it appears Israel had assimilated the cherubic figures of Mosaic ordinance, virtually at least, by their idolatrous inclinations, if not actually. —Ezek. viii, 10.

The wings of the bulls and lions, as represented on the Nineveh marbles, follow the description of Ezek. i, 11, 22; each having four wings (if the engravings may be trusted in evidence) like those seen by Ezekiel. Two of these seem to have been ornamental, and immoveably " stretched upwards." These probably are the wings referred to when it is said, " Under the firmament their wings were straight, the one towards the other; every one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies."

Thus, when in motion, all four wings would be stretched upwards, as seen on the slabs ; but when at rest, only the two under and more backward wings would be let down. Thus their heavenward direction was represented as constant, whether in motion or at rest ; for the letting down of their wings when at rest seems to have been confined to two.

If this supposition respecting the arrangement of the wings be correct, it may readily be shewn that one object of the fifth leg (in being so placed as to represent the appearance of four always on the side exposed to public view) probably might be to effect a mechanical connection between the wings and the motive power of the wheels. But this fifth leg represented also four legs always in the walking attitude, when the wings were seen in motion. It is possibly on this account that the wings are represented only in elevated form (and therefore seemingly as two, when at their highest elevation under the firmament) in the Assyrian sculptures whereon the fifth leg appears. For it appears only under circumstances seemingly designed to make its anomalous existence as a fifth pass unnoticed.

Third. " When the living creatures went, the wheels went by them ; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the eartli, the wheels were lifted up."—Cap. i, 19.

The lifting up of the living creatures means only, I presume, the lifting up of their wings from that depressed state in which two of them were seen when the living creature stood. Similarly by the lifting up of the wheels I understand only that lifting up of some inner wheels or cranks by which motion was imparted to the wings, possibly by the fifth leg, whensoever the wheels, which moved along the ground, began to revolve. In any other sense the idea of locomotion imparted by wheels being lifted up off the ground is inconceivable, and the words would seem to represent a mechanic impossibility. If, however, the wheels are to be interpreted of the planetary orbits, their being lifted up off the ground when the symbolisms of living power moved forward under influence of the winds (as here supposed), may imply that the periodic recurrence of their motion was limited to the time of their appearance above the horizon.

Fourth. " When they went, they went upon their four sides,"— Ezek. i, 17. The explanation of these words will form part of the general observations which follow in conclusion of the subject.

In the days of the predicted restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Ezek. xliii, 3), even as when Ezekiel went to destroy the city (cap. xliii, 19), the cherubic glory designed to represent the place of God's spiritual presence amongst his people was the same as that seen by him when amongst the captive Israelites, by the river Chebar (cap. i, iii), 22, at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity.

But in both visions respecting Jerusalem the cherubic glory was seen by the east gate at the north side of the house, or by the brazen altar for the burnt-offerings of the people.

From the causes of judgment enumerated in cap. viii, this, it seems, was typically to intimate that the destruction of Jerusalem was then ordained, because the spirit in which their sacrifices had been there offered up made them before God little else than the offerings of a ceremonial and idolatrous worship. But the manifestation of the glory in that place, for judgment on the worshippers, would also serve to intimate that the rebuilding of Jerusalem and restoration of the kingdom to Israel should never be established with eternal effect, until there should arise a High Priest with Urim and Tliummim, or the oracular gifts of light and perfection (Ezra ii, 63 ; Nehem. vii, 65), to teach the people that the sacrifice required of God was a broken and contrite heart for sin.— Isaiah vii, 15 ; Psalm li, 17.

But the cherubic glory described by Ezekiel, as seen by the river Chebar, represents the symbols of the Assyrian sculpture iu all points, except that in Ezekiel's vision each of the living creatures had four heads, corresponding to their compound form on the Nineveh marbles, as in part resembling a man, a lion, a bull, and an eagle. This, I apprehend, was with the same object as the vision manifested to Daniel at a later date, and confirming the previous one of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan. ii), to shew that the great glory of the heathen dominion, then symbolised before them in association only with its " Babylonian head of gold" (Dan. ii, 38)* should, under a predicted dissolution of its elements, as " by fervent heat" (2 Peter iii, 10), be represented by four heads t or kingdoms before the time appointed for its final judgment, as about to proceed in the days of the fourth kingdom from Nebuchadnezzar's inclusive.

The combination of the lion's and the man's head (as also referred to in Ezek. xli, 18-21) would thus represent the Babylonian element literally and mystically (Dan. vii, 8 ; viii, 23-27 ; xi, 36-45) as continuing throughout all. The bull would represent Egypt, and the eagle would symbolise the power of Persia under Cyrus, as the ravenous bird from the east sent against Chaldee Babylon.— Is. xlvi, 10, 11, with xliv, 28.

The power of Alexander the Great, in its earliest prophetic reference, was his eastern dominion, dismembering the kingdom of Persia.

Hence the Grecian leopard of Dan. vii. was symbolised with four wings of a fowl on his back. The kingdom of Alexander's successors continued to exhibit the same elements under further dissolution ; viz., Syria and Egypt as the kings of the north and south in Dan. xi with that of Judah, whence the wilful king of the then latter-day apostacy, setting up his tabernacle in the pleasant

* In Heb. iii, 1, and elsewhere in scripture, we are taught to regard Christ as the predicted High Priest, through whom an election of Israel was blessed with Urim and Thummin—for his ministry on earth represented an incarnation of the Holy Ghost in the fulness of the Godhead bodily.—Coloss. ii, 9.

+ This was the ancient form of symbolising the cycle of the solar year divided into four quarters for the four seasons ; even as the Brahma of the Hindus is sjTnbolised with four heads. The astronomical symbols are—1. The sun in Taubos : 2. In Leo : 3. Hercules returning from the Hesperides: 4. Aquila, or the Eagle, ascending from the winter tropic. By this the oldest beginning of the year was made the symbol of a typical prediction that God was about to manifest a new order of things under judgment on the old, for a regeneration of the world which should have eternal effect.—Heb. viii, 13 ; xii, 28 ; 1 Pet. iv, 12-19 ; 2 Pet. iii, 10-18.

land. The fourth was the then rising power of the Chittim in the west (Is. xxiiij 12), identified successively with the kings of Greece and Rome.

Such was obviously the character of Ezekiel's prophetic vision. There was, moreover, an equally obvious analogy of the circumstances under which it was actually symbolised before him in the land of the heathen, and mentally when translated in spirit to Jerusalem, there also to contemplate its prophetic features.

But at Jerusalem (cap. x, 3) the cherubim stood on the right side of the house when the man (habited as a Jewish priest, Ezek. ix, 2; xliv, 18) went in and stood by the wheels, and took fire from between the wheels, from " between and even under the cherubim,* standing by the brazen altar;" or at the east gate (xliii, 1, 2; xlvi, 2, 3), and at the north side of the house (v, 19, with xliv, 4).

This situation corresponds with that in which the cherubic emblems of Assyrian sculpture (or possibly J ewish, for they might have been partly spoils, and partly copies of spoils, taken from Samaria by Shishak, Ezek. viii, 10) were found at Khorsabad; viz., four on the north-eastern façade of the palace, and four corresponding forms at the east gate of the Propylseum.

From these circumstances I infer that some sculptured or painted memorial of the grandeur of that gate was actually contemplated by Ezekiel, when himself located near the river Ckebar,—Ezek. iii, 23, 24; iv, 1 ; v, 1 ; viii, 3. Then, as by immediate translation in spirit to the east gate of the inner or priest's court of the temple at Jerusalem, the sculptures of the heathen in the land of his captivity were made to constitute the imagery of a prophetic instruction respecting the ultimate issue of the rebellious national policy, and the corrupt observance of the typical law of sacrifices by that faction of the Jews which was then in power at Jerusalem.

* As from God's presence, according to the metaphorical expression, God dwelleth between the cherubim. Hence the imagery of lightnings round about, and of eyes in all directions ; as implying a being uot subjected to obstruction of vision or check of power from any natural causes,—Psalm xcix, 1 ; civ, 3, 4 ; Exod. xxv, 22 ; also Ezek. xlvi, 2, 3, with xliii, 2, 3, and x, 4. The coals of fire are to be interpreted figuratively to represent Ezekiel as acting under a fiery mission of God (Psalm lxxx, 1 ; xcix, 1 ; civ, 4) respecting the predicted day of the Lord's coming (Ezek. xxx, 3) in final judgment on the city and sanctuary of the typical dispensation, like that which was then about to effect its complete destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. For Ezekiel was commissioned of God to set before the nation both the causes and the consequences of this visitation.

This application of the symbolism fully accounts for Ezek i el's omission of reference to the two winged bulls, which always stood within the gateway of the heathen palace wheresoever the four were found in pairs on the façades to the right and left of the gateway. For the cast gate of the temple at Jerusalem was for the ingress and egress of the high priest alone {i.e., for the purpose of religious worship) ; and the place of the two bulls in the porch of the court was ornamentally occupied by two large pillars,— 1 Kings vii, 15-23; Ezek. xl, 49.

But it may be said that Ezekiel speaks of living creatures, sometimes at rest and at others in motion. I answer, the sculptured emblems represent the idea of living creatures, when described as in motion, for the relative idea of rest is necessarily implied where motion is pictured or sculptured, seeing that no motion is perpetual, much less that of animal life. But the side view of these symbolic creatures was that alone on which the idea of motion was characterised. Hence perhaps the reference to their four sides, as to one side only of each, in Ezek. i, 17; x, 11. In the front view, as seen in the portals, their feet were straight (Ezek. i, 7), or in the attitude of rest, not of motion.

Also, if these symbols of Babylonian grandeur were emblazoned before the people idolatrously, as emblems under which they were to worship the then (to them unknown, Acts xvii, 23) tutelary deity of their national glory, some Babylonian idol-car might have been thus decorated externally, and paraded before the people. For thus the heathen in the east do at this time with their most honoured national idols at every anniversary of some great public solemnity.*

The sculptured motion may have reference to this. In regard to the character of that motion, it is is said, " when they went, they went on the four sides." This expression has perplexed me much ; but I have at length come definitely to the conclusion that it means the side vieio was that under which they were represented when in motion ; and the front view of the straight legs marked then-position when at rest. For four living creatures would have eight sides ; when therefore it is said they moved on their four sides, it must mean-they moved under a side view in which only four sides could be seen by a spectator facing them. The Hebrew is literally

This idea suggested the attempts I have made to represent the same in modelled form.

onBieir/owrThis I at first interpreted to mean a four square arrangement of the symbolism, on the supposition that reference was made to the four corners of an idol-car, having the idolatrous symbols of Babylonian power on its sides, and made capable of moving only backwards and forwards in the direction of either end. The moving power, as that of Juggernaut's unwieldy car, was that of human beings through the instrumentality of ropes. The motion thus given to the wheels was by them imparted (through the agency of concealed mechanism) to the symbolic creatures.—Ezek. i, 19, 20; x, 16, 17.

Hence perhaps we may trace the real object of the fifth leg, as intended only to be visible on the side view, and intended to characterise four legs in walking attitude when the wings were up or in motion.

The wings of those seen with straight legs in the portal, or as at rest, would (from the natural foreshortening thereof in that aspect) incline backwards, and appear depressed, in a form aptly answering to the description, " when they stood they let down their wings."

From Ezek. x, 5, 6, 7, it is clear that the wheels are symbolised as placed inwards. Hence the aspect of them from without would only be that of a wheel seen in the lower half, " as from ] the division" thereof. This appears to be one idea expressed by the Hebrew words translated in our version " as a wheel in the middle of a wheel." This translation aptly helps to describe another feature in the arrangement of the wheels, viz., their connection with a crank movement on the axle. For the eccentric movement thus imparted is that of a wheel in the middle of a wheel, or a wheel seen " from the division of a wheel." But, as before observed, the idolatry of the ancients was twofold —Of an astronomical character; 2d. Of the earth earthy. This latter contemplated the other works of the material creation, together with the mutability of human affairs, as subjected to the control of gods many and lords many.

Hence arose the idolatry of a mixed symbolism, which substituted many vain superstitions for the idea of one superintending Providence in their worship of God as the Father of all the families of man.

These impersonations of their " Diespater " were variously num-

bered at different times. When their lunations and the cycle of their solar year were only divided into two hemispheres (an eastern and western), all their chronological cycles were split into two hemicycles, to realise the idea of the sun and moon having a reversible movement from tropic to tropic. The cycle of 12 months was thus divided into twice six, or into 7 and 5, because the tropical lunation was twice counted. Thus, in the astronomy of Enoch, the sun is said to tarry 60 days in his sixth gate, as that of the two zodiacal signs which were divided by the summer solstice. Similarly (after their lunations and the cycle of their solar year was divided into four parts), the same is said by Ovid and Virgil of the sun in Scorpio, as continuing there for the space of 2 signs, or 60 degrees, each degree for a day. For when the moon was changing from Libra to Scorpio, the place thereof would in effect be that of the sun's sixth gate in the astronomy of Enoch. For the sun's sixth gate was that of the moon's change, and his first gate that of the full moon in the astronomy of Enoch.

Thus their principal gods were six or seven, when they measured their time by hemicycles, and seven when dividing their lunations into 4 times 7§ days = 30 days, and their solar year into 4 times 90° = 360° or days, for as many impersonations of their Diespater.

When the oldest gods of Egypt were but three, their demigods numbered eight. By this we are to understand that when their lunations and the cycle of their solar year numbered only three seasons, the presiding gods thereof were Pan, Hercules, and Bacchus. The latter of these reigned as " God-king of the Dead" for one-third of these cycles. These were thus divided amongst gods of light, to the extent of two-thirds, and the reign of Aphophis in one-third, or for 20 and 10 days in each lunation, and for 8 and 4 months respectively in the solar year.

Hence, the " four-fourths " of Ezek. i, 17, may perhaps have reference to an astronomical symbolism then in use amongst the Jews, as derived by them from the Chaldseans or Egyptians, and representing the cycle of the solar year divided into four parts. For we similarly retain an idolatrous nomenclature for the seven days of our week, and for some of our months, without retaining an idolatrous and superstitious observance thereof.

Thus their solar year, after its division into 4 parts was sometimes figuratively reckoned as a great year, or period of 4 solar years, numbering 1461 days, or 4 times 365^-days. Also, as their Sothiac year, numbering 4 times 36/)£ days of years, or 1461

solar years. Also, as the great zodiacal cycle of the old Egyptian Chronicle, numbering 36,525 years, as 4 times 25 x 365£ days of years, for the 100 years of Brahma's life, compared with the 100 years assigned to the life of Aphophis by the Egyptians, though reckoned in Eratosthenes as 100 years, less 1 hour.

Thus each revolution of the cycle might be figuratively symbolised as completing, in every fourth part thereof, a repetition of their symbolism for heaven as God's throne, when ruling in the four seasons of the year, and over all the families of man. This may be one's reference of the imagery under which the symbolic animals of Ezekiel's prophetic vision were said to have moved on their "four-fourths " whensoever in motion.*

* When the four years' cycle of the Egyptian lustrum was symbolised in their hieroglyphics by the relation of the perfect square to the circle, the symbolism was a measure of 100 cubits or feet compared with the circle of 360°. Hence one-fourth of a square, or cubits, was as 90°, or one-fourth the circle. This was, equally with the circle of 360°, made to symbolise the cycle of the solar year. Hence also the Egyptians used the words a fourth to mean one solar year. Such is the statement of Horapollo in his hieroglyphics, and this may serve to afford historical proof that the four-fourths of Ezekiel's typical vision ought to be thus explained.

This may illustrate the source of the typical symbolism in the prophecy of Daniel respecting the kingdom of Chaldee Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and of Greece under Alexander the Great, as destined after them to be divided towards the four winds of heaven. For it was thus to be made the kingdom of another people, who should equally regard the lesson of ancient typical prophecy respecting God's eternal ordinances of day and night, as the Jews were instructed to do by Moses and the prophets (Gen. i, 14 ; xxxviii, 9, 10 ; Jerem. xxxi, 35, 38 ; xxxiii, 24, 26), but not as the Egyptians and other heathen nations did, when making them symbols of an idolatrous Baal-worship.

The interpretation given to Gen. i, 14, by the usages of patriarchal life in the oriental world (as illustrated by Joseph's dream, Gen. xxxvii, 9, 10) affords ample proof that the darkening of the sun, and moon, and stars, as the immediate consequence of God's judgment on the Jerusalem of the apostolic age (Matt, xxiv, 29), is meant figuratively to describe an eclipse of Jewish and heathen dominion in the world, though not until after a bloody struggle for the same.

Hence "the sun" of the apocalyptic vision (vi, 12) "became black as saclc-eloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." Thus the subordination of temporal power in the theocratical commonwealth of Mosaic institution was (like that of the family circle in the households of the patriarchs) assimilated to the subordination of power in the greater and lesser lights of heaven, when given of God to man for signs of a typical instruction respecting God as the light of life to man, equally as for a division of time into seasons, and days, and years.

This (taken with St Paul's words (Galat. iv, 24, 25) as to an allegorical teaching designed of God in the typical kingdom of .Jewish temporal nationality at

The brazen altar (which stood 011 the north-east side of the inner court of the temple at Jerusalem, viz., at the place in which God had appointed to meet the people, through their priesthood, under the typical dispensation, Ezek. xlvi, 2, 3) is prophetically introduced into the vision to symbolise the sacrifices of the Mosaic law, as, from the spirit in which they were then being made, a mere ceremonial worship by the people, no better in God's sight than the idolatrous offerings of the heathen. Hence Isaiah (i, 10, 21) alleges them against the nation as the chief cause of judgment being then permitted to proceed against it in extreme form.— Ezek. viii, ix, x.

In illustrating the prophetic visions of Ezek. ix, 1-5; x, 2, 1422; xli, 16-21, by a pictured representation of the north-east angle of the priests' court of the temple at Jerusalem, I have not overlooked the fact that the wheels seen by the side of the cherubim (Ezek. i, 16, 21; x, 6, 16) can thus have no place in the pictured illustration.

But we must remember that the visions of the cherubic glory, described in cap. x and xli, as seen at Jerusalem, were the same in character as that first seen by the river Chebar. Also the cherubic figures seen by the river Chebar might have formed the external decoration of some idol-car. Hence the wheel-work connected therewith might have been made the subject of a metaphorical reference suitable to Ezekiel's prophetic mission, when describing the Jewish emblems of God's glorious presence amongst his people (or "between the cherubim") as a moveable glory.

Ezekiel, therefore, represents the reality of this glory as then remaining spiritually and truthfully present with the faithful of God's people in the land of the heathen, when Jerusalem was being made as Shiloh,—Jerem. vii, 15. For then the cherubic emblems of that glory, sculptured on the eastern side of the court of the priests at Jerusalem, were prophetically regarded by him merely as the symbols of an idolatrous and heathen worship (Ezek viii, 10), like those sculptured on the north-east front of the palace at Khorsabad.

Jerusalem) will assure us that if the early history of the world, as recorded in our Bibles, should be found to have much of an allegorical teaching mixed up with it, the validity of the teaching is not impaired by any want of historical exactness. For we cannot but interpret it erroneously when judging it (as Bishop Colenso does) by our modern ideas of history, which are wholly inapplicable thereto.

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know all about the telescopes that can provide a fun and rewarding hobby for you and your family!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment