Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ

 •  31 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Lecture 4
Romans 11
Of the two great subjects, besides our individual salvation, of which the Scriptures treat, as already stated (namely, the church and the government of the world), the latter leads us at once to the Jewish as its center, as the church is of the heavenly glory under Christ; under whom as their head all things in heaven and earth are to be gathered together in one. That government will extend over the whole earth, but the royal nation and seat and center of government will be the Jewish people. To Jerusalem, as the center alike of worship and government, all nations will flow. So it was ordained from the beginning, as we learn from this remarkable passage, " When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance," Deut. 32:8, 98When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 9For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (Deuteronomy 32:8‑9).
The difficulty we have to meet in men's minds on this point is this: that that people having been set aside for their sins- first, idolatry, secondly, the rejection of the Lord Jesus-and the church and kingdom of heaven having been established, it is supposed they will not be restored, but merge in the profession of Christianity. But this sets aside alike the prophecies of the Old and the declarations of the New Testament.
I will refer to this last first, as correcting this very mistake; and this will make way for the direct and positive testimonies of the Old which concern this people of God's election. In Rom. 11 this question is treated: " I say then," is the question with which it begins, " Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.... God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew." Then the case is put of their rejection, and the apostle argues that the casting of them away was the reconciling of the world, and proceeds, " for if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?... And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, boast not against the branches: but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree," etc.
Then he warns the Gentile Christians against the very notion to which I refer, assuring them that they are in danger of being cut off in their turn, as we shall see more fully when we treat that subject. In verse 25 he adds, " For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,... that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." They are partially set aside till the church be called, and then a deliverer, Christ, shall, after all the church is brought in, come out of Sion and turn away their ungodliness. This is not by the gospel as now preached, for he adds, " As concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sakes," the Gentiles being thus let in; " but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Here we have God's ways towards them clearly set forth: partial blindness for a time, during which the church, the fullness of the Gentiles, is called; when that is closed, their Deliverer comes out of Sion. Our gospel is not the means: they are as a nation enemies as respects that; but they have not ceased to be beloved for the fathers' sakes. That is a matter of God's election, and as to His gifts and dealings He does not change His mind.
Thus it is certain that God maintains His purpose as to them as a people, and that it is not by the gospel as now preached they will be called in. As to that they are enemies. So the Lord at the close of Matt. 24, when declaring the judgment coming upon them, says, their house should be desolate till they say, accomplishing Psa. 118, " Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord." And He carries on their history till His coming again, consequent on which He will gather together the elect among them from the four winds; nor should they cease to subsist as a distinct class till all was fulfilled. Compare Deut. 32:5-205They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? 7Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. 8When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 9For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. 13He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; 14Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. 15But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. 18Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. 19And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. 20And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. (Deuteronomy 32:5‑20). Then the Lord gives His ways with His servants meanwhile, and afterward with the Gentile nations when He returns.
Thus we learn distinctly the teaching of the New Testament, of the Lord, and the apostle, as to the plan and ways of God in respect of His ancient and elect people. If we compare
Deut. 32:26, 2726I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: 27Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this. (Deuteronomy 32:26‑27), and what follows, we shall find this abundantly confirmed. In the end the Lord will judge His people, and repent Himself concerning His servants, and the nations will be called to rejoice with them, and Jehovah will be merciful to His land and to His people.
I may now turn to the direct declarations of the prophets, which leave no shadow of doubt on their restoration and blessing; and that as a people, with Jerusalem for the center of their dominion and glory. That these prophecies have never been accomplished the passages themselves will prove; but there are certain general considerations that affect this question, which I will here notice. That Israel as a people were not brought into their promised blessings when Christ first came, is evident. It was the time of their casting away, and the grafting in of the Gentiles-the reconciling the world; and their receiving again is set in contrast with it. Jerusalem was destroyed, not rebuilt; the people scattered, not gathered.
Their restoration after the Babylonish captivity is sometimes alleged to be the fulfillment of these promises; but it was far indeed from accomplishing them. Their blessings are to be under the new covenant; but the new covenant was not established then. They are to be under Messiah, but Messiah was not then. The Jews were still in captivity, so that Nehemiah speaks thus: " Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it. And it yieldeth much increase to the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins. Also they have dominion over our bodies and over our cattle at their pleasure, and we are in great distress."
Further, when Christianity was introduced, not only was Jerusalem destroyed in judgment, but the Gentiles were in full glory and triumph. When the Jews are re-established according to prophecy, they are judged and brought under.
I will now quote the prophecies which predict this establishment of the people. You will see its connection with Christ, with the judgment of the Gentiles, with the new covenant, and even with the resurrection. It will be the sparing of a remnant, in the first instance, which will become a great nation. I first quote Isaiah, who furnishes us with some very remarkable prophecies on this subject. After describing the universal evil and the judgment of this nation, he closes his introductory prophecy thus, " In that day shall the branch of the Lord he beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain," chap. 4: 2-6.
Thus the glory will be restored to Zion when the Lord shall have purged away her guilt by judgment. Two causes of judgment are there stated: the unfaithfulness of Israel to her first calling; and their unfitness to meet the glory of the Lord when He appears. In this last (chap. 6) that judgment which the Lord recalls is pronounced, " Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." The prophet then inquires, " How long? " The answer is, " Until the cities he wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land." Then it is added, " But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they have cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof." Nothing could more strikingly depict the long winter of Israel's desolation; but here God would in the remnant give a principle of restoration and blessing, as Paul shows in Rom. 11
This point is more historically prophesied of in Isa. 8 and 9, where the rejection of Christ is definitely spoken of, verses 14-18; and His manifestation in glory in favor of Israel, yet in judgment, in chapter 9: 5-7. Chapters II and 12, the closing ones of this series, largely declare the restoration of Israel, terminating thus, chapter 12: 6: " Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
In chapters 24 and 25, which form the close of the next series of prophecies, the testimony of God is carried on to the utter desolation of the earth. " The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,... and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fail and not rise again "; that is, it is its definite and final judgment as the earth of man's power. It is added, " And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.... Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." Here, therefore, again we find judgment on the earth, and the Jewish people brought to the enjoyment of Jehovah's presence and blessing. But there is more than this. In chapter 25 universal blessing comes on the Gentiles then: " And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations." At this time also it is that the resurrection takes place, verse 8: " He will swallow up death in victory: and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces: and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." In the mountain of Zion is the awaited blessing and power that sets aside all that is hostile. In chapter 26 all is celebrated in a prophetic song. In chapter 27 Satan's power is destroyed, and God's dealings with Israel reviewed.
In taking up these closing chapters of the two series of prophecies (chaps. 5-12 and 24-27), the first, God's dealings with Israel as in the land, the second with the Gentiles, I have passed over a remarkable chapter in the midst of the Gentile series, to which I must now return, chapter 18, difficult in expression, but very plain in its purpose. Messengers are sent by a mighty protecting power to a nation scattered and feeble-a nation wonderful from the beginning. The Lord summons all the inhabitants of the world to attend. He holds Himself aloof in His dwelling. The Jews come back, looking for full national blessing in a carnal way; just as it seemed blooming they are cut down again, and the beasts of the field, the Gentiles, summer and winter on them. Still at that time a present is brought of this people to the Lord, and then from them to Him in the mount of Zion. We learn thus their return by some political movement, their subsequent desolation in their land; yet they arc brought to the Lord, and they themselves bring their offering to Jehovah in Zion.
You will find in chapter 29, and remarkably in chapter 32, and largely in chapters 34 and 35, the Spirit's testimony to the final restoration of Israel. You may compare chapters 54, 62, 65, and 66 for enlarged testimonies of the restoration of Jerusalem in the glory. The prophecies of Isaiah have the character of a general revelation of the ways of God, having the Jews for their center, including their guilt in separating from Jehovah, and in rejecting Christ; Babylon, their scourge when disowned, and the Assyrian when they were owned.
But Jeremiah lived when the house of David had completed its guilt, and Jerusalem was about to be given up to the captivity of Babylon. Hence, while pleading with them as to their sins, he enters into specific detail as to the restoration of the Jews and Jerusalem, announcing (as the other prophets) the judgment of the haughty Gentiles. To his prophecies I will now return. The whole of the chapters from 30 to 34 are worthy of your fullest attention. I can only quote the most striking passages.
In chapter 30 the prophet speaks of that day of Jacob's trouble which there is none like, of which the Lord speaks in Matt. 24, but declares he shall be delivered out of it-a declaration which, as we know, was not accomplished at the first destruction of Jerusalem by Titus; and he adds that in that day the Lord of hosts would break the yoke from off his neck, and strangers should no more serve themselves of him, takes notice of the utter desolation of Jerusalem, but declares He would bring back the captivity, and the city should be built on its own heap, and the palace remain after the manner thereof; and then announces the utter judgment of the wicked when Israel should be His people: it would be in the latter days.
Both families (chap. 31) should be His people. This shows at once it was not the restoration from Babylon merely. It is declared that His love is an everlasting love. Jacob was redeemed (v.11); they would come and sing in the height of Zion. This is declared (v. 31) to be founded in establishing the new covenant, and the chapter closes with these remarkable words: " Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name: if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus saith the Lord, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse-gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever."
In chapter 32 Jeremiah is commanded to redeem land at Anathoth; and the chapter closes thus: The Lord declares, He will gather them and they will be His people, and He will be their God. " And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart, and with my whole soul. For thus saith the Lord, Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them." And, returning to the occasion of the prophecy, " Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. So Hanameel, mine uncle's son, came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the field of Hanameel, my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver." The promises are renewed in chapter 33, and God declares David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. " If ye can break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me. Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them."
Nothing can be more positive than these promises. The Lord takes the ground of His unchangeable faithfulness, refers to all the evil man has been guilty of, and declares He will not cast him off for it, but put the law in his heart, gives local details as to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and says that as He had pulled down and destroyed them He would build them up again; so that it is impossible to apply it to any others.
We get details as to their restoration, which passing on to Ezekiel leads us to. In chapter 20 of that prophet we are told that, as regards the ten tribes, they will be brought out of the countries, and as in the days of leaving Egypt the rebels fell in the wilderness, so now they would pass under the rod like a flock told by the shepherd,• and the rebels would not enter into the land (v. 34-38). This is not so with the two tribes: they will return in unbelief, a remnant only being faithful; Daniel's wise ones,' and two thirds will be cut off in the land and the third part pass through the fire and be refined as silver is refined. See Zech. 13:8, 98And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:8‑9).
But I must quote some other passages of Ezekiel. In chapter 34 God judges the shepherds. He there declares He will take the flock into His own care (v. 11-22) He then, in verse 23, passes on in un-symbolical language to say what He will do in the latter days. " And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God."
In chapter 36 we have the well known passage in which being born again is declared to be the work which God will accomplish in them that they may enjoy their land before Him. " For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen." Then the heathen would know that this restoration was Jehovah's doing. This last point, which we find more than once in Ezekiel, is an important element in the re-establishment of Israel, and (like the others, and especially their occurrence at the same time) has never yet been fulfilled.
In chapter 37 we see a further point insisted on. The dry bones of Israel would be clothed with flesh, and the people brought to life again, and placed (v. 14) in their own land. But when this takes place in the last days, the long separated ten tribes will be reunited to Judah, and have one head, never to be divided again (v. 19, 20). David (the beloved), that is, " Christ," is to be king over them; God's tabernacle will be amongst them; He, Jehovah will be their God and they His people; and the heathen will know that Jehovah sanctifies Israel when His sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore. This dwelling of Jehovah in their midst has never been, if not by the presence of Christ whom they rejected, since the Babylonish captivity.
Ezekiel wholly passes over the times of the Gentiles, and introduces Jehovah again in their midst in the land. Connected with this is the account of the inroad of Gog, in the two following chapters. When restored to the land, and appearing outwardly to be restored to blessing, Gog comes up against them; God pleads against him and sanctifies Himself in this judgment. Gog falls on the mountains of Israel, and God makes His holy name known in the midst of Israel; He allows them no more to pollute His name: and the heathen shall know that He, Jehovah, is the Holy One in Israel. " Behold," it is added in remarkable language, " it is come and it is done, saith the Lord God. This is the day whereof I have spoken." The prophecy is closed by these words: " Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen, but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God," Ezek. 39.
Thus the revelation of the full restoration of Israel in both parts of the divided kingdom, reunited in one under Christ, and of the new covenant-connected with the judgment of the heathen, and their learning that Jehovah is in the midst of Israel, Jerusalem being rebuilt and glorified, as in Isaiah 40—is made as plain as words can well make it. I will confirm this, however, by some remarkable testimonies of the minor prophets.
Turn to Hos. 3:4, 54For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4‑5), " For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days." You will remark that the blessing of Jehovah and the often mentioned David are spoken of in the latter days; meanwhile, they have not the true God, and they have not false gods-no sacrifice, but no image either. Thus they abide many days, and thus have abode. In the latter days it shall be otherwise.
In Joel 3 we have again the judgment of the Gentiles summoned to awake up and come to the great day of God to the valley of Jehoshaphat (the judgment of God). There, says Jehovah, will I sit to judge all the heathen round about, and the harvest, separating judgment, and the vintage, judgment of pure vengeance, arrive. Of the Jews it is said (v. 20, 21), " But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation, for I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion."
See Amos 9:14, 1514And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. (Amos 9:14‑15). Here we get what has clearly never yet been fulfilled, while it applies to temporal blessing in the land: " They shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." It is here a question, which is not one for faith, whether God's word will be fulfilled.
In Micah we have a beautiful description of what Israel will be in the world in that day under Christ. They will not be added to the church one by one, and merged as blessed in it; they will be gathered as Israel; chap. 5: 3. Then Christ will be their strength against the Assyrian their foe, when owned in the land. Then they become as dew in the world, the freely flowing blessing of God, but as a lion among the beasts of the forest to all that oppose them and the counsels of God in them (v. 8), while all evil is purged out from them and the heathen judged, as we have never seen (v. 9-15).
In Zeph. 3 we have another passage full of instruction as to the Lord's ways with this people. First, Jehovah's long and gracious, but useless, patience (v. 7). So the godly ones had to wait till judgment came on the nations, would subdue them, and bring in blessing. In Israel there would be a poor and afflicted and sanctified remnant (v. 12, 13), but peace should be their portion. Then Zion, Israel, and Jerusalem are called to rejoice with all their heart; Jehovah was in their midst: they would not see evil any more. God would rest in His love-the blessing so great that His love would be satisfied and in repose. Blessed thought! still more blessedly true of us when Jesus shall see the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied. Then all that afflict Israel will be undone, and the people made a praise among all peoples of the earth (v. 14-20).
In Zechariah, the whole of chapter to describes the restoration of Israel in the latter days, speaking of each division of the people, Judah and Ephraim; then chapter 11 tells of Christ's rejection; and in chapter 12 all the nations gathered against Jerusalem are judged, and she becomes a burdensome stone for them (so that it has no application to past events), and there is a detailed account of how Jehovah will save the people: " In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah." Then there is the mourning over Christ's rejection, and they look on Him whom they have pierced. They are sifted (chap. 13: 9), and two-thirds cut off, and the third part pass through the fire. The last chapter (14) closes this striking history with full details of what shall take place. The Lord comes. His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives. At evening time, when men would expect darkness, it will be light. Living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem. Jehovah shall be King over all the earth; He alone shall be owned. Jerusalem shall be inhabited in her place; there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
The testimonies I have cited are amply sufficient to show, to every one who receives the testimony of God's word as true, the certainty of the restoration of Israel to their own land to be blessed under Christ and the new covenant. The circumstances of the return of Israel and Judah are distinguished. Of the former, the rebels are cut off outside the land, which they never enter; of the latter, in the land: the residue of these last passing through the fire. This involves the history of Antichrist and the Gentiles, which will be spoken of when the prophecies as to them are considered. But Israel and Judah are united under one head. Further, in the series of events which usher in the blessing, the Gentiles are gathered against Israel and are judged, and afterward blessed in connection with, and subordinate to, that people. Jehovah is King over all the earth. It is noticed, too, that these events take place at the epoch at which the resurrection does. Peace reigns, and the curse is removed: Jerusalem is never defiled any more, nor does Israel lose its blessing.
Such is the establishment of the divine government of the world at the close. Of this government Israel is the center, according to the fixed purpose and unchangeable calling of God. They reject now the gospel, but are beloved for the fathers' sake: they will believe when they see. We have brighter blessings, because we believe without seeing; and this is one thing which renders the understanding of the prophecies, as to the Jews, important. Not only is it precious to us as a part of Christ's glory, but our clear apprehension of the application of prophecy to them hinders our misapplying it to the church. This takes its own heavenly character. It is witness of sovereign grace, giving it a place with Christ where no promise was; Israel, the testimony to God's faithfulness to His promises-Jehovah, who was and is to come. Israel will, indeed, be the royal people, the center of Christ's earthly power and dominion, but they will be reigned over. We, by pure grace, shall reign with Him, suffering first with Him. The church has its place with Him, Israel its own blessing under Him according to His promises of old.