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Psalms 110:1 - Homilies By R. Tuck

War-figures applied to Messiah.

It is remarkable that the prevailing political and national associations always color both the literature and the religious sentiments of an age. Our associations provide our figures and illustrations, and these vary and change according to the altering of associations. This may be shown by comparing the age of Cromwell with this latter half of the nineteenth century. War associations prevailed then; peace associations prevail now. The sterner views of God prevailed then; the milder views of God prevail now. Redemption was then mainly regarded as a vindication; redemption is now regarded mainly as a moral force. It is quite natural that the conceptions of the promised and coming Messiah should vary at different times, according to the varying conditions of the Jewish people. In Moses' days he was thought of as a "Prophet" like Moses, an inspired Teacher, Revealer, and Leader. In David's days we find both the earlier warlike associations, and the later suffering associations, coloring the anticipations of Messiah. In the prophets the suffering idea is prominent, and Messiah is thought of, largely, as a "Servant of the Lord," who succeeds no better than the prophets did. The Book of Daniel, and more especially the careers of the patriotic Maccabees, bring back strongly the war associations and king-figures.

I. THE WAR - FIGURES ARE SUGGESTIVE AND HELPFUL . We should be weak in our conceptions of Messiah if we had not these war-figures. Loving peace as we do, it is astonishing how interesting to everybody the associations of war are. Everybody is excited when a regiment comes into a town. The "Salvation Army' appeal to a sentiment which seems universal in human nature. To young and old the literature of war is fascinating. And war-figures may be used in connection with Messiah, because sin is properly conceived of as an active hostile force, which man has to oppose, but is helpless to overcome. Messiah is well thought of as the Champion that undertakes man's cause, and leads man in the fight. Those two ideas, of Champion and Captain, suggest the two important sides of Messiah's work. He acts for us. He acts with us .

II. THE WAR - FIGURES BLEND WITH OTHER FIGURES . So much mistake has been made by taking them exclusively: then a one-sided theological system is constructed. They must always be treated as giving only a portion of the Messianic representation, and illustrating only certain sides and aspects of the Redeemer's work. He is the King, and he is the Lamb, and he is the Teacher. Blended figures alone bring apprehensions of the full truth.—R.T.

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