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Thus Joel iii. begins with these expressions, " For behold in those days, and in that time, “ when I shall bring again the captivity of Ju“ dah and Jerusalem,” to fhew that the several events detailed in that chapter fhall begin to be accomplished about the time that the Jews fhall return to the land of Judea, from their dispersion.
The pointed prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon, contained in the 50th and gift chapters of Jeremiah, is blended throughout with the return of the Jews. Those two events are related in alternate stanzas, to shew that they shall be contemporary and progressive.
The prophecy concerning Gog and his army, laid before us in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel, is mingled with accounts of the happiness of the Jewish nation, represented as then living in their own land, in security and affluence, tólhew, that the invasion of Gog shall take place a long time after their resettlement in Judea.
As the time of each remarkable circumstance respecting the Jewish nation is fixed in the Apocalypse, any of those circumstances connected with a prophecy, shews the particular place of that prophecy in the series of events, and consequently enables us to ascertain its relation to
other events, which either precede, are contem. porary with, or follow after it.
But a difficulty will readily occur in the application of this rule. All the Old Testament prophets, three excepted, lived before the Babylonish captivity: When they mention the desolate state of the Jews, the question is, Whether they mean their captivity in Babylon, or their dispersion by the Romans? for both were future events, at the time the prophecy was ut. tered. And when they mention their resettlement in Judea, it is a question, Whether they understand their past return, or their future restoration.
In order to remove the difficulty, I would observe, that all the circumstances not fulfilled in the former event certainly refer to the latter. As the prophecies which are yet to be accomplished are only connected with their future restoration, the following circumstances respecting that event will occur to the attentive reader of the prophecies, and clearly diftinguilh it from their return from Babylon.
The ten tribes, who have had no national ex. istence since their captivity by Salmanazar, shall return together with the two tribes. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah shall form one great united nation".
They (1) Ezek. xxxvii. 15–22, Jer. iii. 18. Ifa. xi. 13,
They shall be gathered from all countries and corners of the earth'; whereas formerly they returned from one country only.
They shall be thoroughly cleansed from their fins? ; whereas they brought much of their perverseness along with them from Babylon'.
They shall return under the Messiah their Leader,
They shall poffefs all the land, as in the most flourishing days of David and Solomon, and more extensively than in their times, which certainly was not the case on their return from Babylon.
Their poffeffion of the land shall be perpetual' ; whereas, after their return from Babylon, they were dispofseffed by the Romans.
Jer. xvi. 15. Jer. xxiii. 3. and 8.
(1) Ifa. xl. 11. Jer, xxxi. 8, 9.
(2) Isa, i, 25. Jer. xxxiii. 8. Ezek, xx. 38.
(3) Ezra ix. Nehi X.
Jer. xxiii, 5, 6. Jer, xxx. 9. Ezek.
(4) Isa. xi. 10, xxxiv, 23, 24,
(5) Jer. xxxiii. 7. Ezek, xxxvi. ll. Ezek, xlvii, 13 -21. Obad, ver. 19, 20,
(6) Ifa. liv. 7-11. Ezek. xxxvi, 12-15. Ezek, xxxvii. 25-28.
The service of God performed among them fhall be spiritual, quite distinct from their former manner of serving him'.
The nations shall flow into them”, and they shall propagate the truth among the nations'.
Their temporal happiness shall be great and permanent?
The Millennium is a period which the prophets introduce frequently, and defcribe largely. The peculiarity of their description and phraseology, when they mention this subject, will enable the attentive reader to recognise it, wherever it is introduced. The circumstances of the defcription can suit no other time.
(1) Jer. 'jii. 15, 16. Jer. xxxi. 31-34. Jer. 1. 5. Ezek. xvi. 62. and xxxvi. 26, 27.
(2) Jer. iji. 17. Ifa. lx. 3-16 Zech. viii. 22. 13). Ifa. ii. 3. Ifa. Ixvi. 19. Jer. iv. 2. Mic. v. 7.
(4) Ifa. xxx. 23, 24. Jer. xxxi. 12. Ezek. xxxiv. 26, 27. Amos ix. 13. Zech. viii. 12.
From these quotations, and many others which might be added, we see that several passages refer to the future, which inattentive readers apply to the past.
They describe it as a period in which Jews and Gentiles shall be united as members of the church, and admitted as joint worshippers into the house of God. Before the Christian dispensation, the Jews only were admitted. By the promulgation of the Gospel, the middle wall of partition was broken down, and the Gentiles were introduced. The admission of the Gentiles was from the beginning of the Gospel the great stumbling-block to the Jews, who have ever since been aliens from the household of faith, and, according to the prophets, they shall continue in that state until the Millennium.
They describe it as a period of much outward glory to the church, by her extending her dominion over all nations, as well as by the regu larity and stability of her government and discipline. Now, previous to the Christian dispensation, she was confined to one națion." In the beginning of the Christian dispensation, she was for some time without the support of civil government, and subject to persecution. When she received a legal establishment, she began to be corrupted, and in process of time, instead of the chafte fpoufe of Christ, appeared to be “ the 66 mother of harlots:' From that period, she has ceased to appear as one great united body. Notwithstanding the purity of individuals, and of some public establishments since the Reforma