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Cox refers in proof of this ? To 1 Peter iii. 18-20 ; iv. 6. These are the only passages in Scripture, apparently, on which Mr. Cox relies as proving his doctrine. He appeals to them as though they undoubtedly taught it. But everyone who is at all acquainted with these texts knows that they have had a very great variety of meaning put upon them by men fully as able to explain them as Mr. Cox or any of his school, and it will not do to rest a weighty doctrine upon a couple of texts which have been so variously understood. For our part, we do not believe that “the spirits in prison" of 1 Peter iii. 18-20 were the spirits of men at all, and would take the liberty to refer Mr. Cox to a paper of ours on that question in the RAINBOW of August, 1879.
If we think it strange that Mr. Cox should rely upon texts so very variously understood as 1 Peter iii. 18-20; iv. 6, for a doctrine of such tremendous moment as that he rests upon them, we think it even more strange that he should attempt to strengthen his position in the way that he does. Interpreting the texts above referred to as teaching that our Lord, in a disembodied state, preached the Gospel of salvation to the living spirits of men in hades, and that many of them, at least, heard it to their salvation ; he proceeds to show that such was the interpretation put upon it by “the primitive Church.” How do our readers suppose that he tries to do this ? By reference to one of the most silly of the apocryphal writings, the Gospel of Nicodemus! (194).
This wretched forgery gives a full account of hades, in substantial agreement, not with the biblical account of that condition, but with the account given of it by Mr. Cox. We do not suppose that Mr. Cox agrees with every circumstance mentioned in this Gospel, but certainly its main statements are in full agreement with his. There were gathered at the time of Christ's death, according to this veracious production, the living souls of all the dead. To these Christ is said to come during the period of his burial, and to bring them all forth from their prison house. The statement of this false Gospel, written no one knows by whom, written no one knows in what century, Mr. Cox would have us take as our infallible guide to the doctrinal opinions of “ the primitive Church !” Mr. Cox himself calls it "a work of fiction " (194); and yet he would have us draw our ideas of the doctrine of the primitive Church from its miserable pages! We can only ask our readers to look through its puerilities and fables and they will see how poor is the support on which Mr. Cox relies for his position.
In conclusion, we will just ask Mr. Cox one question. He supposes that the primitive Church taught that Christ went to hades to preach the Gospel there to men, because the Gospel of Nicodemus teaches so.
Does he also believe that it was the opinion of the primitive Church that on the occasion of that visit Christ raised up in their bodies all the dead of past generations ? The Gospel of
Nicodemus says that He did. * Will Mr. Cox take him in this point, as on the other, as the interpreter of the opinion of the primitive Church? If not, will he tell us why?
JUDAH AND EPHRAIM IN THE LATTER DAYS.
BY T. T. PITT. I have loved you, saith Jehovah. Yet ye say, Wherein hast Thou loved
us?" (Mal. i. 2). THE utmost interest attaches to the inquiry, "What does the Word of
Jehovah reveal as to the character and circumstances of the House of Ephraim, or Israel, nationally, in contradistinction to the House of Judah, or the Jews, in our times ; which, by universal consent, are the approximate end of the latter days?"
Tradition, presumably established upon the Word of God, and therefore, claiming the authority of that Word, has handed down to us various articles of belief which will not bear the light of revealed truth. Such were the doctrines of the eternal torment of the immortal soul, and the post-millennial advent of Christ; and not less opposed to the “sure word of prophecy" is the dogma that Jehovah is not dealing in mercy with Israel in the present age.
This almost universally-entertained belief is the necessary result of the erroneous teaching that the known Juhs (Jews) comprise the whole of the existing descendants of Jacob; whereas, in fact, they represent, as their name, Juhs, implies, the Tribe of Judah --with, perhaps, Levy-only. Ephraim— Israel-comprising the remaining ten Tribes while their PREDICTED glorious destiny in the latter days, has been overlooked as completely as though they had no existence. Hence the opinions on prophecy concerning Israel, at present so vigorously expressed, contain but a fraction of truth; and, consequently, the prophetic word is mutilated and misrepresented.
Experience suggests that such testimony will be instantly rejected by many without even one honest attempt to ascertain whether it is justified by facts. Indeed, so irresistible to human efforts is traditional teaching, that some of Jehovah's most transparent promises to Israel are disregarded because they do not agree with certain preconceived ideas. So difficult and irksome is the task of unlearning what, for a lifetime, we have been taught to believe, that, as to the majority even of students of prophecy, it would be useless, on this subject, to quote any prophecy as fulfilled that cannot be applied to the past history of the Jubs, or that could receive its fulfilment in the coming age.
But implicit faith in the literal Word of God brings its indescribably precious reward to those who delight to contemplate the faithfulness and the glory of Jehovah, as displayed in the performance of His promises. To say that Jehovah WiLL at SOME FUTURE TIME perform certain
* Ante-Nicene Library. T. & T. Clark, Vol. 16, p. 174.
promises to Israel, but which promises He has already fulfilled, is, at the best, to treat His Word with disrespect.
Nearly the whole of the Old Testament is devoted by God to the history past, present, and future, of the twelve Tribes ; and every part of that word is, of course, inviolably sacred. Yet how much of the prophetic part have we not in reality ignored, because we could not reconcile it with what we have been taught, not by the Spirit of Truth, but by men. We have encountered some promise of temporal, or of spiritual good, to Israel ; and if it has not, in our opinion, received its fulfilment in the history of the Juhs, to whom the Holy Spirit never meant it to apply, we have summarily dismissed the consideration of it with the supposition that it related to the Jubs in the millennial age, HOWEVER impossible that may, upon a little reflection, have been seen to be.
We have fallen into endless and inextricable confusion by losing sight. of the fact, that from the time of Rehoboam (1 Kings xii. 16-24) to the present day-and it will so continue till the return of all the Tribes to the land (Ezek. xxxvii. 22)—the two pations of Israel and Judah bave been entirely distinct, and that the prophecies subsequent to the respective captivities, relating to one kingdom, have no reference whatever to the other previous to the re-occupation of the Land of Promise, unless it is clearly indicated to be otherwise. Discrimination must be used in order to discover which kingdom is referred to in any particular prophecy. It is often essential also to note the date of a prophecy.
As to the Tribe of Judah then : It will not be denied that it was they—the Jubs—who crucified Messiah ; who said, “ His blood be upon us, and upon our children.” And this agrees with the words by Micah (v. 1, 3), “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek; therefore will He give them up until the time that she (viz., Israel) which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of His. brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.” Ergo, until Israel had “ brought forth,” Judah has been given up to unbelief; and very awful has that unbelief been. All efforts to bring her to a saving knowledge of Messiah have NECESSARILY FAILED.
But now, at the close of the age, when the prophecy must, without question, shortly receive its fulfilment, what do we see? The answer is, the word by Jeremiah (xvi. 16) fulfilled : “I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every bill, and out of the holes of the rocks." Being so hunted, where do they find a secure dwelling?
With such a prophecy before us as that quoted from Micah (v. 1, 3), the answer to such an inquiry surely must have an intensity of interest; for Jehovah has said, “THEY SHALL RETURN TO THE CHILDREN OF Israel.' Spain has invited them to settle there ; Austria has offered to succour them; and, according to the views of many among us, the Land of Promise is their appropriate resting-place. Societies are being formed for the purpose of promoting this object, and thus facilitating the Divine plans ; His promises concerning Israel's return being, as they, no doubt, rightly conceive, well nigh ripe for fulfilment.
But the Jubs do not accept the hospitality thus offered them; and for the best of reasons, for Jehovah has said, " They shall return to the children of Israel.” (What Israel shall do with them is declared
n Jeremiah iii. 18: “In those days the House of Judah shall proceed apon the House of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the Land which I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”—“ Horæ Propheticæ,” Vol. II., pp. 110*-Further, in Isaiah xviii. 7, and Zeph. iii. 10).
Simple faith in the Word of God would, in such circumstances, inquire, “Is it, then, within the range of Jehovah's possibilities that, whatever tradition may state to the contrary, the nation to which they come may, after all, be the kingdom of Israel : for every prediction must have its literal fulfilment. No one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate ? ” (Isa. xxxiv. 16). Without doubt such an inquiry will, by many, be considered entirely superfluous ; for the fact is, the Juhs are going en masse to AMERICA; and, the Word of Jehovah notwitbstanding, it will be heedlessly asserted, “They have not returned to the children of Israel, for the English and the Americans are not Israel."
Such a response, though dishonouring to Jehovah, is in accord with His Word by Hosea (i. 10, 11): “And it shall come to pass that in the place where it shall be said (future passive in the Hebrew) unto them, *Not My people,' it shall be said unto them, “Sons of the living God.'' “ Horæ Propheticæ," Vol. II. pp. 247. The history of the Juhs-the Tribe of Judah-then, responds accurately to prophecy, as needs it must. Does the history of Ephraim—the ten Tribes --reflect prophecy less faithfully? By no means ;
none shall want her mate." Oh, for honest and good hearts, and unbiassed minds, to consider WHAT JEHOVAH HAS SAID shall be the condition and character of the House of Israel in these days in which we live !
The misleading, though most prevalent notion, that the Juhs are the only existing descendants of the twelve Tribes, bas too long proved fatal to a successful issue of such an investigation. Jehovah does not say the Juhs represent the whole twelve Tribes. On the contrary, He states by Jeremiah (xiii. 14), “I will pluck them out of their land, and plack out the house of Judah from among them.” Further, by Zechariah (xi. 14), " That I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."
The prophecies which follow cannot, by any possibility, be made to apply to the Juhs, either in the past, present, or the future age; yet the Word of Jehovah has not failed, neither can we be fairly charged with appropriating millennial blessings :
“ And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles (Goyim) in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver " (Micah v. 8).
It is enough to state that this glowing prophecy has already received its accomplishment, and that since the Assyrian captivity ; for Israel CANNOT sustain guch a character during the approaching millennial age.
“ His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns; with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh ” (Deut. xxxiji. 17).
This cannot take place in the coming age; indeed, except as applied to the history of our own nation, the prophecy would appear to have no intelligible meaning.
* By Rev. H. Marriott, M.A.
W. H. Guest. 20, Warwick Lane, E.C.
“Ephraim's seed shall become a multitude of nations ” (Gen. xlviii. 19). With reference to this passage, the Bishop of Rangoon, in his little work, “ Joseph's Birthright England's Possession," pp. 12,* says: “ The word in the Hebrew there translated nations' is one which implies foreigners living outside the geographical limits of Palestine; for that is the exclusive sense in which the plural noun Goyim' is used throughout the Old Testament. Now, in what way could Ephraim ever have been thus called a "MULTITUDE or Goyim' during Old Testament history?
One has but to ask the question in order to strike all controversy dumb. Indeed, the very thought of Ephraim becoming a multitude of nations outside the territorial limits of Palestine, is so strange, that when once we begin to dwell upon it, the subject rises up before us. like a romance. Nevertheless, it strictly falls within the line of Scripture prophecy; and if the Word of God is to be honestly interpreted, it cannot be gainsaid or thrown aside.
Therefore, behold I will allure her (Ephraim), and bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope ; and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi (my husband), and shalt no more call me Baali (my lord)” (Hosea ii. 14, 15, 16). Is not this dealing with Israel in mercy ?
The wilderness of Israel is anywhere outside the Land of Promise. Before their return to the Land, therefore, Ephraim was to sing as in the day of her youth.
Compared with these, many of the prophecies which received their fulfilment in the Christ, are obscure. No words could be more explicit; the wonder is they can be misunderstood. Even if they were not supported by numerous other prophecies--and they undoubtedly arethey would DEMAND IN THE NAME of Jehovah our acknowledgment. (1) That in the present dispensation, and THEREFORE AT THE PRESENT HOUR, Ephraim, as distinguished from the Jubs, is a most powerful and unconquerable nation, from whom “none can deliver."
(2) That she has pushed the people together to the ends of the earth, just as the great nations of the Anglo-Saxon race have done in North America, New Zealand, and elsewhere. For if they have not already done so, they will not have time to fulfil their destiny before the period will arrive when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah ii. 4).
(3) A Nation comprising a company of nations, just such as the condition of the English-speaking race illustrates, and anything like which the world has never before seen.
(4) That they walk in the light of Jehovah's countenance, having done His will in “ believing on Him whom He hath sent," and so ARE SINGING and have sung as in the days of their youth, infidelity, and other evils in thousand forms, notwithstanding. For Israel will not be "wholly a righteous seed” until Messiah “shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancient ones gloriously.” Yet the
* W. H. Guest, 20, Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row.