Page images
PDF
EPUB

draw near,

Jerusalem, is given by Jeremiah, although “ the city' is not expressly named: “Thus saith the Lord, Behoid, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places: and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry; and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few ; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their GOVERNOR shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to

and he shall approach unto me; for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord.” Jer. xxx. 18-21. This refers clearly to the future restoration of Israel. The felicity and increase described, cannot apply to their return from Babylon; while its connection with the destruction and overthrow of all their enemies carries forward our views to the commencement of the Millennium as the period to which it relates: “ All they that devour thee shall be devoured ; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity.” ver. 16. The city shall not only be rebuilt

, but Prophecy sig. nificantly points to its occupation of the same site on which it formerly stood. In the above prediction it is marked with emphasis, " And the City shall be builded upon her own heap.” The same thing is declared by Zechariah: “ And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” Zech. xii. 6. This is repeated by the same prophet in another chapter, which contains some additional circumstances of interest: “ And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and it (Jerusalem) 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 tower of Hananeel unto the king's

wine-presses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." Zech. xiv. 9-11. The futurity of the fulfilment of this prediction is alike evident from its close and commencement. It refers to the time when “the Lord shall be king over all the earth,” when our prayer shall be answered, “ Thy kingdom come.” There shall then be " no more utter destruction;" but Jerusalem being rebuilt, “ shall be safely inhabited," and this re-erection will be “in her place.It is not so obvious where “the king's wine-pressess” formerly were, although we apprehend they may have been without the city; and if so, that this is an intimation of the future enlargement of Jerusalem. But the point to which we at present direct attention is to the circumstance of a portion of the land being “ turned into a plain.” This is to be " from Geba to Rimmon." The former was a city situated in the tribe of Benjamin ; it was built by Asa, king of Judah, and was one of the

thirteen cities given to the sons of Aaron." There were two Rimmons; the one in the tribe of Zebulun, toward the northern boundary of Palestine; the other in the tribe of Simeon, on the border of Edom. The prophecy distinguishes these, and refers to the latter as that

south of Jerusalem.” There is, therefore, no reason to doubt that the prediction is to be understood literally; although the change referred to be of a miraculous nature.

That the city is to be greatly enlarged is evident from the following prediction : "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 brvok 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 for ever.” Jer. xxxi. 38-40. The city shall not only “ be built" to all its former dimensions, but a considerable enlargement is

evidently described. The precise extent of this, however, it is difficult to ascertain, as we nowhere else find mention made of either Gareb or Goath. But the line by which Jerusalem is measured going " forth over against the one, and compassing about unto the other, it may be inferred they were at some distance from the city. But it shall include what evidently formed no part of the city formerly, “ the whole valley of the dead bodies, [near to Golgotha, and supposed by some to be so called from the bodies of malefactors being exposed or interred there,] and of the ashes (supposed to be named from the ashes of the sacrifices thrown there) and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron," or Cedron, which runs south-eastward, along the east side of Jerusalem, through the valley of Jehoshaphat, also called the valley of the son of Hinnom. Without pretending to determine its precise limits, it is sufficient to prove its future enlargement, that the city is then to embrace within its bounds what formerly were the adjoining “fields."

It shall then be remarkable, not merely for its enlarged accommodation, but eminent for its holiness : “ Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called a City of Truth; and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, The Holy Mountain. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes ? saith the Lord of Hosts." Zech. viii. 3--6. Some of these characteristics Jerusalem has never yet possessed, and the prediction has internal evidence of its referring to the holy and happy Millennial Day. It is evidently subsequent to the restoration of both “ the house of Judah and the house of Israel;" (ver. 13.) and is after the Lord should have “scattered" the inhabitants of “Jerusalem" with

F

a " whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not.” (vii. 7, 14.)

In another prediction, universally referred to the Millennial period, the Lord thus promises : “Behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalen, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying .... And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” Is. Ixv. 18—21. “ And I will restore thy judges as at the first,saith the Lord, " and thy counsellors as at the beginning: Afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, The faithful City.” Is. i. 26.

SECTION 1X.

THE WHOLE EARTH BLESSED IN ISRAEL'S

RESTORATION.

In again bringing His ancient people to the Land of Promise, the Lord will eminently promote his own glory, while their own restoration will be attended with the most blessed effects to all the earth. His promise is, “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.” Ezek. xxxiv. 26, 27. This is so manifestly the literal Israel, that we deem it altogether unnecessary again to refer for proof to its context, formerly considered. Nor has the promise been yet fulfilled, for then they shall not “ bear the shame of the heathen any more." ver. 29.

“ And I will cause the captivity of Judah, and the

66

captivity of Israel to return, and will build them as at the first. 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. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour, before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them; and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Jer. xxxiii. 7-9. And will it not excite a burst of surprise from those in the church, who ought from the word of God to be previously aware of the Lord's designs of “ goodness” and “prosperity" to His ancient people? Why should that which God himself declares shall be to Him “ a name of joy, a praise, and an honour," be so obstinately rejected or so reluctantly received by any of His chosen ?

I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed ..... For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all people.Is. Ixi. 8--11. This shall be when they “repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations ;" when they shall rejoice in their portion," and when, for the “shame" they have endured, “ in their land they shall possess the double." ver. 4—7.

“ And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing." Zech. viii. 13. This being subsequent to the restoration of both kingdoms from “among the heathen," proves clearly that it is yet unaccomplished.” “But now, I will not be unto the residue of this people, as in the former days, saith the Lord of Hosts; for the seed shall be prosperous, and the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall

« PreviousContinue »