Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

worship before him. A prediction to this effect is given in precisely the same terms by the prophets Isaiah (ii. 2, 3) and Micah : “ But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the House of the Lord shall be esta. blished in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills ; and people shall flow unto it; and many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.Micah iv. 1, 2. In this prediction, the House of the God of Jacob” and the mountain of the House of the Lord” are both considered by many as the church; and the “nations” and “people” coming thither, as those becoming members of it. Were we even to look no farther than to the words quoted, this would appear an unnatural interpretation of the passage, and when viewed together with its context it at once appears inadmissible. The quotation we have made is evidently a contrast to something previously declared : But in the last days it shall come to pass,” &c. There are here two marks of contrast: “but,” in contradistinction to something formerly mentioned, "it shall come to pass ;” and “in the last days” circumstances shall differ from those at another period also referred to previously. These points of contrast have been unskillfully separated in our translation by placing them in different chapters; but by looking at the last verses of the preceding chapter the meaning of those quoted will instantly appear. That chapter contains an exposure of the hypocrisy of the “ heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel," and a threatening is denounced of coming desolation on their land : “ They build up Zion with blood, [this is not the church certainly,) and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us ? None evil can come upon us. Therefore [on account of this their iniquity] shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the House as the high places of the forest. But in the last days," &c. Thus,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

then, we see that it was the literal“ Jerusalem” and “Zion" and “mountain of the House," which, for the sin of Israel, were to be “ ploughed” and laid in “heaps,” and which have literally been so.

And it is in contrast to their present state that from the same “Jerusalem” and “ Zion" and “ House of the Lord,” the word of the Lord shall again go forth, and to which “in the last days” many nations shall come. This shall be at the Millennium, when “nation shall not lift up a sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.” ver. 3.

Again, “At that time, they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it to the name of the Lord to Jerusalem ; neither shall they walk any more after the imaginations of their evil heart.” Jer. iii. 17. This is when “the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north,to their own land; and at that time, they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord.” It is, therefore, at the restoration of Israel, and the conversion of “all the nations,” for “ neither shall they walk any more after the imaginations of their evil heart.”

So also, by the prophet Zechariah, “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, It shall yet come to pass that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” Zech. viii. 20—22. These inhabitants of many cities” shall go not to the church merely, for in doing so they would not need to leave their cities. But, stirring up each other, “the inhabitants of one city shall go to another," seeking their company in going to “ Jerusalem;" whither they shall go together to seek the Lord of hosts,” and “ to pray before the Lord”plainly implying His presence there. And that it is the literal Jerusalem is farther evident from the honour they shall put on the Jews : 6. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations,) even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We

66

will go

with
you ;

for we have heard that God is with you.” ver. 23.

In a psalm containing decided references to the restoration of Israel and the Millennian period, it is said, '-“Because of thy Temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee ;” then “princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." Ps. lxviii. 29, 31. The very reason of these “ kings" going to Jerusalem is because God's “ Temple” will be there.

The attendance of the nations at the regular and stated feasts, the Lord expressly declares by the prophet Isaiah : “ It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues ; and they shall come and see my glory....and it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.” Is. lxvi. 18, 23. Although in these words Jerusalem is not named, yet is it plainly implied: “They shall come,—but whither? The prophecy itself furnishes us with the answer. Referring to the restoration of Israel, it is said, (ver. 19, 20.) the Gentiles“ shall bring all your brethren." Now this bringing must be to the same place as the coming of the nations, since both imply a movement to the place occupied by the speaker. Therefore if we can ascertain whither the Gentiles shall “bring" the prophet's “ brethren,” this will be the place to which the nations “shall come to worship. Now, the former place is distinctly mentioned as being Jerusalem : they shall bring them, saith the Lord, to my holy mountain Jerusalem.And all shall come thither to worship from Sabbath to Sabbath-there shall be continually from all parts of the earth worshippers attending upon the appointed feasts.

But the most explicit prediction on this subject is that with which the Prophecies of Zechariah conclude, and to which we formerly alluded: “It shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem [after Israel's restoration shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of

Egypt go not up and come not, (that have no ram,) there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's House shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts; and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein; and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the House of the Lord of Hosts.” Zech. xiv. 16-21. This is immediately subsequent to the future attack of the confederated nations upon Jerusalem after the restoration of Israel, when “the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished;" when part of the inhabitants shall be made captives, “and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” ver. 2. This must therefore be the literal Jerusalem,” and not the church. Having been then rescued from the power of the oppressor by the Saviour's interposition in their behalf, and peace restored ; " there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” ver. 11. Now it is to this same Jerusalem that “the nations which came against ” it shall come up "to worship the King;" and this King is "the Lord of hosts.' Each of these nations shall go up to Jerusalem, “from year to year;" but this does not imply that every

individual shall do so-although this has sometimes been asserted, with the view of fixing upon the literał interpretation of the prophecy a charge of absurdity, from the supposed impossibility of its being so accomplished. This is indeed required of “all the families of the earth ;" yet it is to be observed, that the word “families.” is not here used in its ordinary and limited sense; but in that more comprehensive signification of nation or people, attached to it in the promise to Abraham, that in him shall “all the families of the earth be blessed.” In this sense the kingdom of Judah is called a "family,” by the prophet Jeremiah : “them that remain of this evil family.Jer. viji. 3. But besides its having this meaning in other parts of Scripture, the term is plainly so used in this very

[ocr errors]

prophecy. Thus, while punishment is denounced against all ® the families of the earth” generally, we have its meaning defined by the more particular reference to the case of " the family of Egypt.” From this we at once perceive that the term “ family is used for “nation” or “people,” Egypt being here reckoned and styled but one family." Thus all the nations or “ families of the earth” may go up to Jerusalem, as they do other things, by representation. Besides such of the people as have the will and the power, (and during the Millennium, these will happily be generally conjoined, facilities being doubtless mightily increased) nations as such will present at Jerusalem their acknowledgment of allegiance to the exalted Jesus, the Great Supreme. From this obligation none will be exempted, and breach of the requirement will be visited with Heaven's chastisements of different kinds. This diversity of punishment also proves that the prophecy is to be literally interpreted. Such nations as refuse or neglect to come up to Jerusalem, upon them shall be no rain.But as this would not be a pun. ishment to any country which does not enjoy or stand in need of the refreshing shower, so if " Egypt go not up and come not, that have no rain, [being watered by the periodical overflowings of the Nile,] there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Here we find that literal punishment must be meant on literal countries, since it is thus adapted to the diversified circumstances of transgressors. In this then we have additional evidence of the fact that when in the Land of Israel the House of the Lord shall be built, men shall come thither from every clime to adore the blessed Saviour, the acknowledged “ King of kings and Lord of lords."

.66

SECTION XV.

REVIEW OF PROMISES OF THE PRESENCE

OF THE LORD ON EARTH.

In perusing the preceding pages, or reading generally the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Millennium, it is

« AnteriorContinuar »