The Ways of God: 6. 2. The Judgment of Israel and the Nations Introductive of the Kingdom Continued

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Now consider the testimony of Scripture as to the third point proposed. Turn to Deut. 32 In the closing verses of chapter 31. Moses gathers the elders and officers of the people of Israel together to recite in their ears the prophetic song given to him by the Lord as a witness, in view of their failure. He says, “I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way that command you, and evil will befall you in the latter days, because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to auger through the works of your bands.” Then in chapter 32 they are viewed as having corrupted themselves. “They have corrupted themselves; their spot is not the spot of his children they are a perverse and crooked generation.” He then goes on to relate their wonderful history, and the counsels and care of God as to them, and the return they made to Him. “Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked. . . they provoked him to jealousy with strange gods. . . they sacrificed unto devils. . . And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them. . . and 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. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God.... and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people.” And then in His anger He casts them off utterly, heaping mischief upon them. When thus cast off He acts in His own sovereignty, and in view of this He declares, “For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he sees their power is gone, and that there is none shut up or left.” He judges His people, avenges the blood of His servants. When His hand takes hold on judgment he renders vengeance to His enemies—makes His arrows drunk with blood—His sword devours much flesh; then He turns in mercy to His people and to His land. The result of this judgment on the nations, is that the Gentiles sing the song of deliverance with the remnant of His people who are delivered. (See Psa. 67, 107).
Psa. 2; 8-10 In the first of these Psalms we find Christ presented as King in Zion and rejected, yet God's purposes only set aside for a while. Christ takes in resurrection the wider glory of the Son of man, according to Psa. 8; we saw before that the Holy Ghost, in Acts 4, quotes the first two verses of Psa. 2 and stops. The Lord is represented as laughing at their rage, but for all their rage He declares, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Messiah is desired, “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,” &c. When rejected, and about to be crucified, He represents Himself as praying for His disciples, “I pray for them, I pray not for the world” (John 17), but the time is coming when He will ask for His inheritance, and the answer comes, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” He inherits them by judgment, in which His people now being gathered have their place with Him; proof that, wherever Christ is spoken of in the Old Testament, we find the portion of the Church as well. “He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken in pieces, even as I received of my Father.” (Rev. 2:2828And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:28).) This however is not his best portion, for “I will give him the morning star” Christ Himself. And then not only is the name of Jehovah excellent in all the earth, but He sets His glory above the heavens (Psa. 8:11<<To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.>> O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1)), and stills the enemy and the avenger. Psa. 9; 10 show us the position and circumstances in which the nation is found in this crisis of judgment. The delivered remnant say, “For thou hast maintained my right and my cause.... thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and ever. . . the Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. . . The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord; that the nations may know themselves to be but men.” It is when there is none to say, “How long?” that the Lord appears to their deliverance. Again, “The Lord is King forever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart (that is of the spared ones who are trained for the kingdom); thou wilt cause their ear to hear,” &c. How mistaken to think the Psalms are the expression of Christian experience as such! How often the simple-hearted Christian has been stumbled at the cry for vengeance on enemies, running through this class of Psalms, put in his mouth, whose calling is to do well and suffer for it, and take it patiently, while in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ! The kingdom and power will be looked for by these Jewish hearts, as that which brings their deliverance. The trials of the heavenly saints end, just before those of the Jewish saints begin. See Rev. 12, where we find rejoicing in heaven when the accuser is cast down, and woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, “for the devil is come down to you.” He then turns his rage against the woman and her seed, the Jewish people. The Spirit of Christ has graciously entered into these trials, that He might give a voice to the remnant, in the closing days, before the kingdom.
Read now Psa. 110 Christ rejected by men, and by His people as their king—who said, “We have no king but Caesar,” “We will not have this man to reign over us” —is exalted to God's right hand. God said, “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (See Heb. 1:13; 10:1313But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? (Hebrews 1:13)
13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:13)
.) He remains then for the nameless time “until” that hour known only to the Father. The Lord, when that hour comes, sends out of Zion the rod of His strength; and Christ rules in the midst of His enemies. His people are willing in the day of His power. (They are unwilling in the day of His humiliation.) “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen,” &c.
Turn to Isa. 1-4. Blessing and rest are proposed in chapter 1 consequent on the repentance of the nation; but they would not hearken. Eventually it is brought in by judgment— “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness; and the destruction of the transgressors, and of the sinners shall be together.” The result of this judgment is in chapter ii. 1-4; iv. 2-6, a time of peace and glory. “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and all nations shall flow unto it He shall judge among the nations and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” How different the time in which we live, while the times of the Gentiles are running on, characterized by those words of our Lord, “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth,” precursors of the Son of man's coming with power and great glory. (Luke 21:10, 25-2710Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: (Luke 21:10)
25And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25‑27)
.) The remaining part of Isa. 2, &c., shows the connection between the judgment of the nations and that of Israel. “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down.... For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty: and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” The result of this universal judgment is the establishment of His people in the glory of the kingdom. “It will 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 the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and a 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.” His own presence will be there, when His people are delivered, as in the wilderness of old.
Isa. 11. The reading of this chapter is so plain as scarcely to need a word. A time of universal blessedness and peace; His people restored and under the government of Messiah, introduced by judgment, which falls on them and the nations. “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off,” &c Isa. 13; 14, treat of the same time, a time of universal judgment on the imperial throne of the world. (Chap. xiii.) “The day of the Lord,” when “all hands shall be faint and every man's heart shall melt.” “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall he joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob and they shall take them captives whose captives they were, and they shall rule over their oppressors in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.” “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.” (Chap. xiv. 1-3, 26.) It goes on to the destruction of the Assyrian after their deliverance (the power that occupies at that day the territory of their ancient enemy); I say “after,” because before the Assyrian fell before Babylon; here, which proves its future application, he falls after Babylon is judged.
Isa. 24-27. This prophecy we have examined and the deliverance of a remnant; the Lord's throne is established shortly before; it shows the universal judgment upon the nations and Israel, in Zion, the reproach of His people removed, the veil taken away from all nations. The Lord had hidden his face from the house of Israel while they were disowned: but He is spoken of as coming out of His place for their deliverance. “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain. . . And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
Isa. 30 “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 up the breach of his people and healeth the stroke of their wound. Behold the name of the Lord cometh from for, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: and his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: i.e., and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people causing them to err And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass.” (the rod of vengeance which God hath decreed), “which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps” (when it is laid on the Assyrian, it is the source of joy and deliverance at the end of the indignation, to the remnant of Israel), “and with battles of shaking will be fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the king it is prepared” (the Antichrist, who has this title amongst the apostate nation); “he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, cloth kindle it.”
Isa. 59:15-2115Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. 16And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. 18According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. 19So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. 20And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. 21As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. (Isaiah 59:15‑21). Verse 20 of this passage is quoted by the apostle in Rom. 11, in view of the future restoration of the people. “The Redeemer shall come to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” And then He establishes the new covenant with Israel; His spirit is with His people, and His words are in their mouth, which would abide with them forever. Verse 18, &c., shows that it is introduced by judgment. “He will repay fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies: to the islands he will pay recompence; so shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” The next chapter declares that Jerusalem is restored in the glory of the kingdom, and her sons and daughters gathered from every side.
Isa. 66. This chapter gives the judgment which introduces the glory and blessedness of the restored nation described in the latter portion of chapter 65. First we have the remnant who fear the name of Jehovah and wait for Him; then the apostates of the nation. The former are encouraged with the promise that the Lord would appear to their joy and deliverance, and to the shame of the apostates, who said in contempt, “Let the Lord display his glory.” “Behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of tire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” (Chap. 66:15, 16.) This passage shows that He comes suddenly, like a whirlwind, and renders to His enemies the fire of judgment. Then we have the result of this in verses 6-14; the laws are set up again in a wondrous manner, and Jerusalem restored. “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her all ye that love her: rejoice with joy for her, all ye that mourn for her.. for thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you: and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known towards his servants, and his indignation towards his enemies.” Then, in verses 19, 20, the spared remnant go forth to declare the glory of the Lord among the Gentiles, and to bring back the dispersed of Israel. The whole chapter shows most clearly the connection between the universal judgment of the nations and Israel, with the deliverance of a remnant, and the Gentiles who are spared blessed around the people of God.
Turn to Jer. 25. We referred to this chapter before; it declared the length of the captivity of Judah in Babylon to be seventy years: but God, having given the throne of the world to Babylon, when He had set aside His people and removed His presence from their midst—in principle, when Babylon is overthrown His people are delivered, because it was the only power that held its dominion directly from God—the other Gentile powers followed providentially. Jerusalem was only partially restored; however, it shows the principle. In examining this chapter, we find that the judgment goes on to the end, in which His people are involved; primarily it referred to the judgment which was executed on Jerusalem and the nations at the time to which the prophecy referred, Babylon falling last of all, which had executed it; and serves as a type of the final crisis of judgment of all the nations of the world.
“For, lo, I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh..... and the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth,” &c. (Ver. 29-33.)
Jer. 30-33. In this beautiful series of prophecies we find, first, Judah restored; then Israel; then both established under the new covenant; the land restored; Messiah and the priesthood, all introduced by judgment on the Jews and the nations, which finds Jacob at the height of his distress. Let us examine it more closely. In chapter 30:7; the prophet writes, “Alas for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bends, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him, but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord, neither be thou dismayed, O Israel, for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee, though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure and will not leave thee altogether unpunished Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured, and all thine adversaries, every one of them shall go into captivity, and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil and all they that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord, because they called thee an outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after the city shall be builded upon her own heap And ye shall be my people and I will be your God The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he has done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.” Chapter 31 sets forth the deliverance, at the same time, of all the families of Israel: and they shall plant vines in the mountains of Samaria and eat them as common things. The language of this deliverance is touchingly beautiful. “Behold I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and her that travaileth with child together; great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them, and I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters by a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. . . He that scattered Israel, will gather them. . . Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock, and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall net sorrow any more at all. . . Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (both houses, the entire nation), “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant they brake. . . But this shall be the covenant. . . I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. . . and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.... If those ordinances” (of creation) “depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.” When Messiah was cut off, the blood of this new covenant was shed, and all necessary on God's part was accomplished to their righteous establishment under it. Plainly the return from Babylon, of the remnant of Judah, was not this re-establishment; for it will be established with all Israel, as it declares, and in grace. The blessing of it however never brings them within the veil, as is the place of Christians now. “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 Kidron, unto the corner of the horse-gate towards the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; and it shall not be plucked up nor thrown down, any more forever.”
In chapter 32 the Lord takes up the circumstances of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to declare His counsel in grace as to their final restoration. The prophet is caused to buy a field in token that the people would again possess the land. “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them in mine anger. . . and I will bring them again into their place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. . . 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.”
Chapter 33 repeats the blessings, looking forward to the day when their Messiah would be with them. “I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel (both) to return. . . and I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me: and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David: and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (“Judgment shall return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it.” Psa. 94:1515But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. (Psalm 94:15).) “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness. For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel,” not merely Judah. “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 upon them.”
Turn now to Ezek. 20. The Spirit here retraces the idolatry of the entire nation from the time of their deliverance out of Egypt. God had brought them out, and given them His sabbaths to be a sign between Him and them: but they had ever rebelled in the wilderness against Him, and polluted His sabbaths. “Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes. . . they polluted my sabbaths. . . in the wilderness.” God had told them (Deut. 32; Lev. 26) that He would scatter them amongst the heathen. Yet when they had been brought into the land they had forsaken the Lord for the high places, and the Lord had sworn that He would not be inquired of by them; but the nation, hardened in their idolatry, had resolved to be like the heathen, and serve wood and stone. Then the Lord said that with fury poured out He would rule over them. “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered. . . and I will plead with you face to face. . . and I will cause you to pass under the rod. . . and I will purge out from among you the rebels (the apostates), and them that transgress against me. . . and they shall not enter into the land of Israel. . . For in my holy mountain. . . there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me when I shall bring you into the land of Israel; into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And I will kindle a fire in thee. . . and all flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it: and it shall not be quenched.” (Ver. 33-48) Israel is here dealt with, amongst the nations of the world, for idolatry; as Judah for the rejection of Christ (for Israel never returned to have their Messiah presented to them, as Judah), which was her special sin, in which she was joined by the fourth Gentile empire, represented by Pilate. In the end she is found in close alliance with, and politically favored by, the Gentile empire in its revived state. The unclean spirit of idolatry did not return to the Jews after the return of the remnant from Babylon. The Lord notices this in Matt. 12: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished; then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it he also unto this wicked generation.” Verse 48 shows the connection of the judgment of the nations with that of Israel.
Ezek. 36-39 In this series of chapters we get, first, the moral renewing of the nation; then the quickening and restoration of the people in national resurrection; then when restored and in their land, their last great enemy, which occupies the territory of the Assyrian, comes up against them; and is destroyed in the mountains of Israel.
Chapter 36. The past failure of the nation is put before them that they may own it before God. The heathen said, “These are the people of the Lord and (yet) they are gone forth out of his land.” (Ver. 20.) But then God remembers that His name is involved, and for His holy name's sake He delivers them. Then, as He had shown to Nicodemus, a master in Israel, the new birth was necessary even to the enjoyment of earthly blessings; which, as a teacher in Israel, he ought to have known from the testimony of the prophets. “I will sprinkle clean water upon you. . . a new heart also will I give you. . . and I will put my spirit within you. . . and ye shall dwell in the land that I gave your fathers. . . And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field. . . I will also cause you to dwell in the cities and the wastes shall be builded,” &c. The nation is thus morally renewed that they may loathe themselves for their sins before God.
Chapter 37. In the vision of this chapter we have a figure of the national resurrection of the people. The prophet sees a valley of dry bones, to which he prophesies as commanded; and there was a noise and a shaking, and the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came up upon them, and the breath came into them and they lived. “Then said he unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say (in captivity), Our bones are dried, our hope is lost; we are cut off from our parts. . . Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. . . and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own land” The figure of resurrection is here used to show the gathering of the nation, long apparently lost amongst the nations of the world, into their land. Clearly it only applies to this, not actual resurrection of the saints who have died in the Lord; it would not be “in the land,” but to heaven, they would be brought. In what follows, we find that Judah and Israel, long apart, are united into one nation, under one king. God sets up his tabernacle and His sanctuary amongst them, and establishes His covenant of peace.
In chapters 38, 39, the Assyrian, the ancient enemy of the people when owned of God— “the rod of the Lord's anger” (Isa. 10:55O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. (Isaiah 10:5)) against His people, to chastise them for their sins—is here introduced under the title of Gog, the prince of Rosh (Russia); Mesbech (Moscow); and Tubal (Tobolsk). He embraces the territory under Russia, or which that power shall have gathered under her in that day. He is represented as wickedly coming up against the nation in Palestine when at rest and restored. “Thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages: I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely ... to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thy hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.... Thus saith the Lord.... it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land.... art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel and it shall come to pass when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face and I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood.. and I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee.... Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel.... Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken. Then shall they (the house of Israel) know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen; but I have gathered them into their own land.... 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.” Compare also for this destruction of the Assyrian, after the people are restored, Isa. 14:24, 25; 3324The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: 25That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (Isaiah 14:24‑25) We must carefully distinguish Gog the land of Magog in Ezek. 38; 39, from Gog and Magog of Rev. 20. The former comes up when the people are restored, in the beginning of the kingdom; the latter, after the thousand years of the kingdom have expired. “When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog,” &c., (Ver. 7, 8.)
(To be continued)