The Ways of God: 6. 3. The Judgment of Israel and the Nations Introductive of the Kingdom Continued

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Dan. 12 We have before seen that the time of the great tribulation, spoken of here, is that to which the Lord Himself alludes, as happening at the time the abomination of desolation is set up in the temple, and which ends by the coming of the Lord Himself, and the deliverance of the people. It is the closing half of the seventieth week, when the re-formed Latin empire is the full expression of Satanic energy, the destruction of which makes way for the kingdom under Christ. We read, “At that time shall Michael stand up.... for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time; and at that time shall thy people be delivered And many (not all) of them that sleep in the dust of the earth” (this is a figure analogous to the moral death and resurrection in Isa. 26:13-1913O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 15Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. 16Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. 17Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord. 18We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isaiah 26:13‑19), and the national resurrection as conveyed by the figure of the valley of dry bones in Ezek. 37) “shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to (instruct many in) righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.... And one said.... How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” that is, to the end of the tribulation, and he aware, “that it should be for a time, times, and a half,” to put an end to the dispersion of the holy people: the closing half of the seventieth week of Dan. 9.
Joel 3 It is but necessary to read verses 1, 2, 9-17, to show the connection. “For, behold, in those days.. when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat (the judgment of Jehovah), and will plead with them there for my people, and my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about. Let the heathen be waked, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about” (this is the judgment of the quick, or living nations). “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and.... will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.... then shall Jerusalem be holy, and then shall no stranger pass through her any more.” She shall be no more trodden down of the Gentiles; their times shall have been fulfilled.
Mic. 4; 5 This prophecy shows in the most wondrously beautiful manner, the coaling and rejection of the Bethlehemite by His people, who are then given up for a time until Zion, which travails, shall have brought forth, and the Son be owned as born to the nation (see Isa. 9); and the remnant shall be restored. The Assyrian then comes up, and He whom they had rejected is then their peace. “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord And this man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces.” He “shall deliver us from the Assyrian and the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as the dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” Jacob shall be the channel of refreshing grace from God to the world, and a testimony to His power.
Zeph. 3:8-208Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. 10From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. 11In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 14Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:8‑20). “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations to pour upon them my indignation for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” The remnant is thus encouraged to wait for this time of judgment from the Lord, when He would rise up to the prey; this alone would set them free, and teach the nations to call upon the Lord, and serve Him with one consent. In that day God would gather His dispersed people from beyond the rivers of Ethiopia (Euphrates and Nile) and have in their midst a people that trust in the name of Jehovah; and “the remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem; the Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty: he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.”
Hag. 2 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.... The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former.... I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen saith the Lord of hosts.” This universal judgment, introductive of Christ and the glory of the restored nation, is referred to by the Holy Ghost in Heb. 12:2626Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. (Hebrews 12:26), as yet to come.
Zech. 10-14 In this series of chapters we have the restoration of Judah and Israel at a time of universal judgment; and this is spoken of still as future, long after the return of Judah from the Babylonish captivity. “And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all nations that come up against Jerusalem.” The verses following, which speak of the repentance of the house of David and the nation, are extremely beautiful. The rejected Messiah is the Jehovah who delivers them. They look upon Him whom they have pierced. There is a great mourning in the land as in the valley of Megiddo of old. This allusion to 2 Chron. 35:2222Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. (2 Chronicles 35:22), &c., is touching in the extreme. There, in the closing days of their former history, their faithful king, Josiah, had fallen, and there the nation had mourned and made great lamentation over their slain king. Here they learn to mourn in the dust, when they learn that the king whom their nation crucified is the Lord of hosts Himself.
In the past history of the nation we saw how that they had failed—the people, the priests, the prophets, and the kings. Here we find these classes all represented in this national and yet individual repentance. The house of David, which represents the kings—the house of Nathan, the prophets—the house of Levi, the priests—and the house of Shimei (Simeon), the people.
Judah is here dealt with, in the land, for the rejection of Christ; not like Israel, as we have seen, for idolatry. “And in all the land... two parts therein shall be cut off, and die, but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and I 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; (Ammi) and they shall say, the Lord is my God.” The sentence “Call his name Lo Ammi, for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God,” (Hos. 1:99Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea 1:9),) is removed.
In chapter xiv. the Lord appears to their deliverance, in the place from which the “glory” of the God of Israel departed, when He transferred the “sword” to the Gentile. From the same place He had entered Jerusalem as their King, according to this prophet chapter ix. 9. riding upon an ass's colt. On the same mount of Olives He sat, in Matt. 24 surrounded by His Jewish disciples; after He had left His nation, until the day when they would say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” and instructed them as to the restoration and gathering of their nation from the four quarters of the world, at the coming of the Son of man in His glory. And from the same mountain did He ascend, having been rejected by His nation and crucified, to heaven. (Acts 1) And on that same mountain shall His feet stand when He returns to their full and complete deliverance in grace! “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations. . . And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. . . And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. . . And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem. . . And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. . . All the land shall be turned as a plain, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem; and it shall be lifted up and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate, unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the towers of Hananeel unto the king's wine-presses. . . And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
We have now followed without much comment, and allowing scripture to speak for itself; which it has done, from the law, the prophets, and the Psalms, giving the testimony of a time of universal judgment; when God turns to occupy Himself, directly, with the world again; the nation of Israel being the special object before Him. All these dealings making way for God's kingdom in Zion and the restored earth; at the time of the restitution of all things—and we have seen most distinctly that this time of judgment is synchronical with the counting out of the closing part of the seventieth week of Dan. 9—the crisis of the history of this world. And before closing this subject, I would shortly notice the position of the heavenly and glorified saints—the Church of the firstborn—during these scenes of universal judgment. We saw them taken up at the time of the first resurrection to be “ever with the Lord,” (when the saying of Isa. 25:88He 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. (Isaiah 25:8), 1 Cor. 15:5454So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54), is brought to pass, “Death is swallowed up in victory,") when this period of judgment begins. We find this in the Book of Revelation, in chapters 4-19, which are occupied with this period of judgment, precursory of the kingdom. It is assumed also in other Scriptures. In chapter 1 we have “the things which thou hast seen,” the vision of Christ walking amongst the candlesticks. Chapters “the things that are,” (ver. 19,) or the time-state of the Church as a light-bearer here below for Christ. In her place of responsibility the various features which would mark her existence in the world are portrayed, from the time of her departure from her first love, till she is threatened with total excision— “I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
No doubt seven actual assemblies in Asia are addressed, but the moral state of each is seized to describe that which would be found in Christendom. That these seven assemblies, and they alone, could not be termed “the things that are,” is clear, as they did not constitute all that existed then; and besides, chapter 3:10 clearly indicates that the whole time existence of the Church is converged, as it promises that the overcomer who kept the word of Christ's patience would be kept from “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth” —the period of judgment we have been considering, which introduces or rather precedes the kingdom. Chapter iv., &c., “The things which shall be after these things” (μετα ταυτα) begins this period. “Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be after these things.” There are doubtless features in these chapters that show the leading features which characterize the protracted period from the apostolic days to the end of the age; but when we come to details, the interpretation can only apply, in truth, to the crisis of the history of the world.
All through the course of these chapters of the Apocalypse, we find a company seated in heaven, calm and peaceful, amidst the thunders and lightnings and judgments, cognizant of the mind of God; and with full understanding of all that goes on beneath them in the world. In chapter 4 we find them, in the presence of a throne of judgment, seated as kings and priests, clothed with white raiment, and on their heads crowns of gold—the complement of the heavenly saints received up at Christ's coming. In chapter v. one of their number explains to the prophet that which caused his thoughts to be troubled; and they are again seen exercising priestly services around the Lamb. Again in chapter 7 we find them in heaven, and one of their number explains to the prophet the one hundred and forty-four thousand of Israel, and the palm-bearing multitude of Gentiles who had been Sealed for preservation through the judgments for the millennial earth, no more to be subject to hunger, or thirst, or sorrow. Again, in chapter 12, we hear their voices celebrating the casting out of Satan and his angels from the heavenlies: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth,” proclaimed because Satan had gone down in great wrath, having but a short time—the closing one thousand two hundred and sixty days of the beast's power. The sorrows of the saints for the heavenlies cease when they had been caught up, and just before those of the Jewish saints, sealed for preservation, begin. In chapter 13 these saints are the objects of Satan's blasphemy through the beast; be can now no longer accuse or cause them sorrow, so he blasphemes “those that dwell in heaven.” In chapter 19, after the marriage of the Lamb, we see Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords, coming forth to judgment, accompanied by the armies of heaven, clothed with fine linen, which is the righteousness of saints. (Comp. also chap. 17:14) He comes forth to exercise His power over the nations, and to rule them with a rod of iron, in which the saints have a part with Him. See Psa. 2:99Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalm 2:9), “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel,” with Rev. 2:2828And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:28), “He that overcometh 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 shivers: even as I received of my Father.” Then, in chapter 20, the thrones are set, and “they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years.” In verse 4 we find three classes. First, those who had been received up at the coming of Christ; second, those who, during the interval of judgment before His appearing, “were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God,” the souls that were martyred under the fifth seal (see chap. 6:9); and, third, those who, during the raging of the beast in his last effort, set on by Satan, “had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands.” These last two classes are not deprived of their blessing for having suffered. They lose those of the kingdom below, but are not forgotten, and receive the heavenly blessing with the others who had been received up at Christ's coming.