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The re-occupation of the Holy Land by God's ancient people is fully borne out by other portions of Scripture. The prophet Ezekiel* predicts a new territorial allotment of the tribes. Without entering into details, it must be evident at the first glance that it differs greatly from the former division. From the entrance of Hamath to the river of Egypt the land is to be divided into twelve zones, or large parallel bands, reaching from the Great Sea to the Euphrates. (See map on the opposite page.) Each tribe thus possesses a portion of the coast, and several of them have likewise a share in the fertilising Jordan. As no such division took place before, it will doubtless take place hereafter; and it is scarcely necessary to add that the division of a country among its inhabitants, pre-supposes its possession and occupation by them.
Again, the fusion of the twelve tribes into one kingdom is prefigured by the same prophet under the symbol of joining two sticks, severally marked with the names of Ephraim and Judah. He goes on to say, “ Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, ... and I will make them one nation, in the land, upon the mountains of Israel ; . . . and David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd.”+ The re-union thus foretold must therefore be effected (1) in the land of Israel, and (2) under a king of the seed of David. On the return from Babylon, however, only a small remnant came back, and these, apparently, of the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. There is no evidence that the ten tribes ever joined their brethren after the captivity of Babylon; and if they did, it was not under David their king, for during the whole of the period of the second temple there was no king who could claim descent from him. The union, therefore, which the prophet foretells is still future; and very naturally Israel must first possess the Promised Land, there to be united, and there to be placed under the happy sceptre of the Son of David. May the Lord in meroy hasten that happy time!
ISRAEL'S REJECTION THE CHURCH'S ELECTION. ISRAEL'S RESTORATION THE WORLD'S SALVATION.
BY THE REV. JOHN WILKINSON.
(Concluded.) LECTED by God before the foundation of the world, the Church is
constituted the body of Christ, the members of the Church—believing Jews and believing Gentiles—members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. He is now Head over all things for the Church, which is His body. The Church is the bride of Christ in the power of resurrection life- the Lamb's wife-wife of the second Adam, the Lord from
* xlviii. 1-7.
† Ezek. xxxyii. 21-24.
| Ezra ü. 1.
heaven. He has bought the Church with His own blood as His immediate reward. The Church, His body, is to be won now; the world on His second coming. When He comes to bless Israel aud the world, His reward–His own reward—will be with Him, having met Him in the air on His way; and His work, or recompense before Him. (Isaiah lxii. 11.)
The Church is united by Christ in resurrection life; she has died with Him, has been buried with Him, has risen with Him, and has her place with Him in the heavenlies, where she is blessed with Him and by Him with all spiritual blessings suited to her relationship and mission.
Thus the rejection of the Jewish nation was made the occasion of the election of the Church. A dispensation of law gave place to one of grace. A dispensation, local and national, gave place to one the benefits of which were to extend to individuals of all nations. A dispensation of “ shadows of good things to come " gave place to one in which the good things were actually enjoyed. At the close of this dispensation, Christ will come with His bride to bless Israel, speak peace to the nations, to be King of the Jews, and to be King over all the earth ; and there shall be one Lord, and His name One.
Israel's restoration—the world's salvation.
NATIONAL RESTORATION TO PALESTINE. Let me remark. Israel is to be gathered from all lands; from the four corners of the earth; converted after restored (Ezek. xxxvi. 24, 25, &c.); never more to be scattered (Amos ix. 14, 15); their temple rebuilt, commemorative sacrifices offered, according to the latter chapters of Ezekiel, and their land divided on an entirely new plan. The waters of the Dead Sea are to be healed by the river flowing from Jerusalem. The restoration from Babylon affected only Judah and Benjamin, and only forty to fifty thousand of these returned, large numbers remaining behind, who established seats of learning, which gave birth to the Talmud.
They offered sacrifices for the whole twelve tribes, as recorded in Ezra vi. 17, to represent the unity of the nation,
The unity of the nation in the purpose of God is also expressed by St.
Paul and by St. James in such expressions as, “The twelve tribes instantly serving," &c, and “To the twelve tribes," &c. Portions of the two tribes came home, as representatives of the nation, to be at home to receive or reject their Messiah. To the few of the two tribes who did return, it was simply a change of place, not of state.
Their language is : “ We are servants in it, and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou has 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.” (Neh. ix. 36-38.)
The Persian yoke continued till the time of Alexander the Great, B.0, 880. The yoke of Alexander till B.c. 800. The Egyptian yoke lasts about 100 years, till about B.o. 202. Then the Saleucidæ, or Syrian kings, exercise a bloody tyranny, which brings us down to B.o. 166. Then the Maccabees give them a little breath of liberty, but amid continual war and tumult. Then comes Herod, the royal butcher, followed by the crushing power of Rome.
Surely the promised restoration of the whole twelve tribes from the four corners of the earth,—to be no more scattered, all their enemies subdued, and universal peace established, has not been accomplished by a few thousands of two tribes, with a few priests and Levites, returning to Palestine from Babylon, only to undergo a sort of penal servitude at home instead of transportation abroad. We, therefore, infer that the whole ten tribes are yet to be ultimately restored, and not only so, but to be converted and saved.
RESTORATION-SPIRITUAL. The time is now gone, and we can scarcely do more than quote a few plain passages touching the certainty of Israel's conversion, and then a few passages showing the connection of that glorious event with the conversion of the world.
“ Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation."
“In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory." (Isa. xlv. 17, 25.)
“Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” (Psa. cxxx. 7, 8.)
“Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.” (Ps. cxxxi. 3.)
“ And' so all Israel shall be saved ” (Rom. xi. 26), by the coming of the Lord to “turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” and to raise up the fallen “ tabernacle of David,” according to Acts xv.
“As ye have been a curse among the heathen, 0 house of Judah, and house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing.” (Zech. viii. 13.) Israel, a curse among the Gentiles, is to be saved, and become a blessing to them. This passage very unsatisfactorily proves the Anglo-Saxons as meant by Israel, as does also the passage in Hosea iii. 4, 5. For we can hardly be said to be “ without a prince” when we have just had a national thanksgiving for the preservation of his life.
It now remains only to quote a few passages to show the clear scriptural connection between the conversion of the Jews and the blessing of the world.
Let us begin with the promise to Abraham. “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen, xii. 3.) This seed is primarily applied to Christ in the Epistle to the Galatians : then applied to believers in Christ, circumcised or uncircumcised, in the 3rd of Galatians, and in the 4th to the Romans. In the latter chapter Abraham's spiritual seed of all nations are mentioned as a fulfilment of the promise, “ As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations.” (Rom. iv. 17.) The third application of the term, "seed of Abraham," is made to those who are Abraham's children by natural descent and by national covenant. These three applications of the term, "seed of Abraham," are clearly scriptural.
1st. “And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
3rd. “We have Abraham to our father;" so that, whatever of blessing has come to the Gentile world, during the Mosaic economy, by the personal ministry of our Lord, or through the ministry of the Church, or which may yet come to the world through a restored and saved Israel, it will have come through the "seed of Abraham.”
Notice next the prayer of Moses, and the blessing which God an. nexed to the answer, in Numb. xix. 19-21. “Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people. . . . I have pardoned. . . . But, as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
The 67th Psalm teaches the same doctrine. “ God be merciful to us," &c. “That Thy way may be known upon the earth, Thy saving health among all nations." "Let the people praise Thee." Then, “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy." Then “God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.”
Please turn to Ps. cii. 13-16. “ Thou shall arise and have mercy upon Zion,” &c.
“ So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory."
Turn to Isa. xlix. 6. "It is a light thing for thee to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel ; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Now notice that beautiful passage in Isaiah lii. 8-10 : “ Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing." For eye to eye (literally, "eye in eye ") shall they see, when Jehovah restoreth Zion. They will look each other in the face with tearful joy, " when Jehovah restoreth Zion." “Break forth (burst out), sing together, yo waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem.” Surely this is blessing for Israel. Mark what follows. “Jehovah hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of (or before) all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
Notice, also, Isaiah lxvi. 12, 13. “I will extend peace to her (Jerusalem) like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
As one whom his mother comforteth, .... I will be as the dew unto Israel. .. And Israel shall be as a dew from the Lord.”.
The coming of the Lord, the salvation of Israel, and the blessing of the Gentile world, are all plainly taught in the 59th and 60th chapters of Isaiah.
Isaiah ii. 1-5 teaches the reign of universal peace, when instruments of destruction shall have been converted into implements of husbandry; the house of Jacob walking in the light of the Lord ; and Jerusalem & centre of blessing to all lands. This vision is said to concern “ Judah and Jerusalem." “ Ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." (Zech. viii. 23.)
One more remarkable passage on this most interesting subject. The phraseology is very remarkable and startling. “ Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth