Theories Of Messianic Prophecy -- By: S. C. Bartlett

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 018:72 (Oct 1861)
Article: Theories Of Messianic Prophecy
Author: S. C. Bartlett

Theories Of Messianic Prophecy

Rev. S. C. Bartlett

The subject of Messianic Prophecy is attended with great difficulties. Certain portions of the Old Testament-are so direct in their reference to Christ and his Kingdom, and so distinctly appropriated by him and his apostles, as to secure a general recognition among all who believe in prophecy and inspiration. But around this circle of clear light — the direct prophecies — there is a broad penumbra of doubt and debate.

In regard to a large part of this debated ground, the question among evangelical expositors has often been more as to the mode than the fact of a Messianic reference. And their concurrent recognition of the fact has often been the more weighty and impressive by reason of their diverse theories concerning the mode. It is interesting also to

observe how the weight of evidence in regard to particular passages has sometimes pressed upon candid scholars, till it has forced them to remodel their theories, or even to receive the fact to the detriment of their theories. Rosenmüller was constrained to reverse the judgment of his first edition, and in his Compend to receive not only the second, forty-fifth, seventy-second, and one-hundred and tenth, but even the twenty-first Psalm, as Messianic. Hengstenberg, in the interval between his Christology and his Commentary on the Psalms, found it necessary very materially to modify his views, and to include the thirty-fifth, thirty-eighth, forty-first, and sixty-ninth Psalms in the same class with the sixteenth, twenty-second, and fortieth. He did it by abandoning the exclusive reference of the latter class to Christ, and making them a set of generic utterances concerning “the ideal righteous sufferer,” which apply in their fulness only to the suffering Saviour. We may question the theory; but it resulted in very considerably enlarging his catalogue of the Psalms ultimately relating to Christ. The late Professor Stuart, in discussing the numerous citations of Psalm sixty-ninth by Christ’s apostles,1 though he takes the position that “David is originally and personally meant, and not Christ,” and that these citations are made only as apposite and felicitous quotations, just as “we are accustomed continually to quote and apply maxims and sentiments from the classic writers,” yet changes the whole bearing of his position by the brief remark that “David, as King, was, beyond all reasonable doubt, a type of King Messiah; and what was done in respect to the type may, by the usage of the New Testament writers, be applied to the antitype.”2 The gradual expansion of view in the mind of T...

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