The Hebrew-Christian Messiah
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Being Twelve Lectures delivered before
the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
on the Foundation of Bishop Warburton
in the years 1911-1915

A. Lukyn Williams, DD
(1916)

 

CONTENTS

Introduction Note by the Bishop of Ely
Preface

LECTURE ONE

Introductory—The Genealogy—The Birth to the Manifestation in Galilee—The Evangelist's use of Scripture

INTRODUCTION

  1. Hebrew-Christians after the Fall of Jerusalem needed encouragement.
  2. They already possessed St. Mark and 'Q.'
  3. Why the author wrote in Greek.
  4. The duty of modern Christians to present Christ to modern Jews.
  5. Plan of the Lectures stated.
  6. Materials for learning the representation of the Messiah current among Jews c. 25 AD.
  7. The new facts compelled a modification of such a representation, the result being Christianity.
  1. The Genealogy—its form and meaning.
  2. The Virgin-Birth. Isaiah 7:14 considered. How far St. Matthew regarded it as a 'proof.'
  3. The Place—Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 considered. The visit of the Magi.
  4. The Flight to Egypt. Hosea 11:1.
  5. The Massacre of the Innocents. Jeremiah 31 (38) 15.
  6. Nazareth.
  7. The Messiah and John the Baptist, the true Elijah.
  8. The Baptism and the Voice.
  9. The Temptation.
  10. The Manifestation in Galilee.

 

LECTURE TWO

The Jewish Parties in the Time of the Messiah, Especially the Pharisees.

  1. The Essenes
  2. The Sadducees
    1. The name from the Zadok in David's time, and its application connected with the claim of the High Priests to be 'sons of Zadok.'
    2. But including nobles as well as members of the High Priestly family.
    3. Pro-Roman in politics, and both conservative and worldly in religion.
    4. Described in the Assumption of Moses.
    5. Passages in this Gospel dealing with them.
  3. The Pharisees
    1. The Scribes.
      • Oral law a necessity when there is a code.
      • Their origin and history.
      • Passages in this Gospel implying that some became Christians.
      • But most were opposed to Christ.
    2. The Pharisees as such.
      • Their connexion with the Assidaeans.
      • The ordinary members of the party, of which the leaders were scribes.
      • The name and their history.
      • Two points of extreme importance.
        • They had little authority in the time of our Lord.
        • They themselves were divided into two parties, the harsher having the greater power.
    3. Passages in this Gospel dealing with them.
      • Our Lord's indictment.
      • The favourable opinion of them expressed by many modern scholars.
      • Suggested explanations of the severity of the Gospels.
        • The probable solution.
        • The verdicts of St. Paul and the Messiah hold good today.

 

LECTURE THREE

Messiah, the Healer of Disease

Twenty years ago apologists believed in miracles because they first believed in
Christ: now they are reverting to the earlier order, and the place of miracles in
the evidence to Christ is being recognised.

  1. The Position of Miracles in St. Matthew's Presentation of the Messiah to the Jews.
    1. The impossibility of severing the miracles from the history.
    2. The Jews did not deny the fact of Christ's miracles, but attributed them to demonic power.
    3. Miracles at heathen temples, and down to our own time.
    4. How far St. Matthew regarded the miracles as evidence for the Messiahship.
  2. The Position of Miracles in the Evidences for Christianity Today.
    1. The classification of our Lord's miracles.
    2. The explanation of them.
      1. 'Functional diseases.'
      2. 'Organic.'
      3. The raising of the dead.
      4. On inanimate nature.
    3. The relation of our Lord to His miracles.
      1. Non-Biblical cures examined.
      2. In the case of our Lord.
        1. No evidence that He claimed to perform His miracles by His own power as God.
        2. He the Ideal, or Archetypal, Man doubtless combined in Himself all powers which are intrinsically human.
        3. The explanation suggested by the Evangelist is that they are the result of His bearing on Himself sickness and its cause.
        4. Christ's own explanation of miracles wrought by His disciples is that they were performed by God in answer to prayer.
      3. We thus have left to us three possible methods by which our Lord performed His miracles, and probably all three were combined:
        1. The use of His human powers.
        2. Utter self-sacrifice for men.
        3. Faith on His Father in heaven.
      4. His miracles are evidence to Him on the predictive side and the moral.
Appendix: A few examples of non-Biblical miracles of healing.

 

LECTURE FOUR

The Messiah as Teacher—His Originality

  1. Currents of Thought Likely to Influence Him.
    1. Not Buddhist.
      1. Nor Persian (belonging to His time), nor Greek directly.
    2. But Hellenism as seen in the Apocrypha.
      1. And the Pseudepigraphic books, in proportion as these were akin to the Old Testament.
      2. Influence of Apocalyptic teaching in the home-life of our Lord.
    3. The Oral Law was necessary if the Law was treated as a code.
      1. But the contents of the Oral Law in our Lord's day cannot be defined, and it is uncritical to illustrate Jewish life and thought in His time by statements in later books.
      2. It is very improbable that sayings common to the New Testament and the Rabbis were borrowed by the latter.
  2. How Far He was Affected by these Currents.
    St. Matthew says so much of Him as Teacher that he may contrast Him with Jewish teachers.
    1. The form of His teaching had much in common with theirs, especially externally:
      1. Parables. Hyperbole. Pithy sayings.
      2. The Discourses, were they spoken as they stand?
      3. Quotations from the Old Testament.
    2. His independence, and the originality of His treatment.
      1. A fundamental difference; He does not appeal to authority.
      2. No sign of eclecticism, or of systematisation.
      3. He raises every question to a higher plane through His character and personality.
      4. We have thus seen both the influence of current thought upon Him, and His originality.
      5. This shown from the Lord's Prayer and His great Commandment of Love.

 

LECTURE FIVE

The Messiah as Teacher—The Permanence of the Law

  1. What Did He Mean By The 'Law'?
  2. What Kind of Permanence Did He Attribute To It?
    1. Not the literal observance of its details, as the Orthodox Jews insist.
      1. Nor the observance only of its more important parts, as the Reform Jews teach.
      2. Nor the observance of the written in contrast to the oral Law.
      3. But the principles and truths lying at the base of the details.
    2. Such a kind of permanence is not wholly contradictory to Rabbinic teaching, though an attempt is made to combine with it the literal observance.
  3. Did He Make Any Distinction Between His Jewish and His Gentile Followers?
    1. No, for during His life on earth He had, we may say, no Gentile followers.
  4. Are Jewish Christians At Liberty To Observe The Jewish Law Literally, Either In Its Details Or In Its More Important Parts?
    1. This appears to be contrary to the kind of permanence attributed to the Law by Christ.
    2. And in any case is not possible in the present landless condition of the Jewish nation. (See Appendix.)
  5. What Relation Does The Messiah's Statement Of The Permanence Of The Law Hold To St. Paul's Verdict That It Was Of A Temporary Character?
    1. The true meaning of the word Torah.
    2. St. Paul did not misinterpret it, and in any case he was not writing to theologians.
    3. He regarded its external observance, the Messiah its inner depths.
  6. What Relation Does Christ's Teaching As A Whole, The Gospel, Hold To The Law?
    1. It is not a second Law, although the word has been used of it, with a lack of exactness.
    2. The legal spirit has too often invaded Christianity.
    3. But the subject of the New Testament is not a system but a Person.
Appendix. A Hebrew-Christian Church.

 

LECTURE SIX

The Messiah as Teacher—The Ethical Demands in the Sermon on the Mount

  1. Much Was Already Well Known
    1. Examples. Purity, Oaths, Charity, Love of money.
    2. Our Lord Endeavoured to impress on His hearers all the best in what they had learned.
  2. Yet Parts, It Is Said, Seemed Impracticable and Undesirable.
    1. Examples. Marriage and Divorce, Oaths, Charity, Wealth.
    2. Is the Sermon on the Mount suited only for visionaries, or at best for a very small community?
  3. Certain Considerations.
    1. Jewish-Christians less likely than we to misunderstand hyperbolic statements, or to underrate the burden of the Law.
    2. We must not isolate single demands from the Sermon as a whole.
      1. Though the Sermon as a whole has been attacked, e.g. for its omissions. It, however, never pretends to be a code.
      2. Its demands are said to be too high for the average man.
        1. But they are addressed only to sincere believers, up to the highest stage of spiritual progress.
        2. Dependence of the heart on God is presupposed.
        3. The importance of such humility before God is indeed recognised in Jewish writings, but has always been too much forgotten.
        4. Our Lord's words are contrary to the conventional religion of the 'average man.'
      3. Christ expects no blind performance of his demands.
        1. The believer draws on his fellowship with God for knowledge to know how to act in details.
    3. The demands said to be subversive of society and the nation.
      1. Christ rightly makes no distinction between individual and national ethics.
      2. But the application depends on the spiritual state of individuals and of nations.

 

LECTURE SEVEN

The Messiah—The Son of David

  1. The Belief In A Coming National King.
    1. In the Old Testament
      1. the Apocrypha
      2. the Pseudepigraphic Writings.
      3. and Rabbinic works.
    2. The nature of it illustrated also by the false Messiahs.
    3. Yet St. Matthew dares to claim the meek and gentle Jesus as the true Son of David!
  2. Passages In The Gospel Where The Title Is Used
    1. The reality of the Jewish origin of Jesus.
    2. The inheritance through Joseph.
    3. Mary also of the Davidic line.
    4. Other passages, in particular 22:41-45.
    5. The current view of the Messiah as the Son of David was insufficient. Jesus moved on a higher plane.

 

LECTURE EIGHT

The Messiah—The Son of Man

  1. Pre-Christian Passages Where The Phrase Occurs. Ezekiel, Daniel, Enoch; cf. 2 (4) Esdras.
  2. Preliminary Questions With Regard To Its Employment By Our Lord.
    1. Why did not His hearers understand Him to refer to the Messiah?
      1. Was it that the Book of Enoch was generally unknown?
      2. Or that the contrast between the future Son of man in glory and Himself seemed too great to suggest identity?
    2. Did our Lord Himself really employ the term?
    3. What did He mean by it?
      1. Especially in Aramaic?
      2. Probably the stress lies not on 'Son' but on 'man.'
  3. The Threefold Use Of The Phrase In The Gospel
    1. The Son of man suffering and dying.
    2. The Son of man exercising power.
    3. The Son of man coming in the future to judge.
  4. Impressions Produced By The Consideration Of These Passages.
    1. What was the source from which our Lord derived the phrase?
    2. Why was it His favourite title?
    3. Why did our Lord use it, and not the first person?
    4. He would also teach by it a wider meaning of Messiahship that Jews had acknowledged.
    5. It has a permanent significance for ourselves.

 

LECTURE NINE

The Messiah—The Son of God

  1. The Significance Of The Phrase In St. Matthew
    1. Its earlier history.
    2. Its usage in St. Matthew.
  2. Reasons For Belief In The Full Divinity Of Jesus.
    1. In the case of St. Matthew.
    2. In our own case.
      1. We believe.
        1. Not because St. Matthew did.
        2. Nor because of the authority of the Church.
        3. But because of the pressure of the facts related in the Gospel.
          1. The irreducible minimum
          2. Unsatisfactory explanations of them.
          3. The reasons that weigh with us.
      2. Objections.
        1. Spirit clothe itself with matter!
          1. Answer. The objection antiquated. We only know matter in connexion with spirit.
        2. Is it consonant with the dignity of God that the Godhead should be in Jesus?
          1. If we think in terms of space, regardless of man's nature and man's sin.
          2. But Love and Holiness are greater than space.
          3. Other attributes would be impossible in a man if he is to be man.
      3. Wherein lies Jesus' personality? Is it human or Divine?
        1. What is personality?
        2. Jesus' personality Divine, but not non-human, this being the necessary self-limitation of God.
      4. The self-limitation of God Himself so far as He is in contact with nature—i.e. Jesus is very God of very God.

 

LECTURE TEN

The Messiah And The Apocalyptists

  1. The Apocalyptists
    1. Their teaching not esoteric, but popular.
    2. It was rejected by the Pharisaic leaders of Judaism, partly because it tended to draw men's minds away from the Oral Law.
    3. Partly because Christianity had so much in common with it.
    4. Its main subject the approaching change, which was often connected by them with the Messiah.
    5. Illustrations.
  2. Our Lord's Attitude To This Teaching.
    1. While He clearly accepted it as a whole we find difficulty in perceiving whether He expected the kingdom to come in its fulness at once.
    2. The sources used by St. Matthew.
    3. Sometimes our Lord implies that the kingdom has come already.
    4. Sometimes that it has not come, but is near at hand.
    5. Sometimes that many years will pass before its full manifestation.
    6. Results—while Q and St. Matthew's 'Sondergut' (Mt) presuppose that the kingdom has already come, and Q and Mk expect it immediately, Mt also lays special stress on the length of time that will elapse.
    7. Explanations of the threefold utterances of our Lord.
  3. The Real Nature of the Final Consummation.

 

LECTURE ELEVEN

The Messiah and the Cross

  1. A Preliminary Question: Upon Whom Does He Lay The Responsibility For The Death Of Christ?
    1. The Romans?
    2. The Sadducees?
    3. The Pharisees?
    4. The People?
    5. The Passion suggests that there is something radically wrong with the human race.
  2. The Value And Effect Of The Death In The Light Of The First Gospel.
    1. Jesus expected suffering from the very first. His horror of the cup at Calvary.
    2. The reasons for the self-sacrifice.
      1. To 'save His people from their sins.'
      2. The ransom.
      3. The blood of the covenant.
      4. 'Bearing.'
    3. Even in His death there was hope.

 

LECTURE TWELVE

The Messiah—The Victor

  1. St. Matthew's Reply To Jewish Opponents.
    1. The Jews have never denied that the tomb was empty, but assert that human hands removed the Body.
    2. St. Matthew's reply, and objections to it considered.
  2. The Nature Of The Resurrection Of The Lord's Body.
    1. The mere survival of His personality insufficient.
    2. St. Paul and the empty tomb.
    3. Events in our Lord's life preparatory to His Resurrection.
    4. Science and the Resurrection.
  3. The Lord's Interpretation Of His Victory Over Death.
    1. Why in Galilee?
    2. The Messiah supreme.
    3. The admission of Gentiles to the Faith.
    4. The everlasting presence.

 

Summary of the Lectures and Conclusion.

Indices:
I. Names and Subjects.
II. Holy Scripture and other Early Literature.

 

JCR