Page images
PDF
EPUB

SECTION THE THIRTEENTH.

THE REIGN OF

MESSIAH FROM JERUSALEM UNTO THE ENDS

OF THE EARTH.

From Zion his first dominion, as we read, the kingdom of Messiah is ex

extended over all the earth—Besides Canaan, Assyria, Egypt, and Arabia, with other great nations which are intimately united with Jerusalem, under the dominion of her king—Another kind of relation to Zion with respect to some nations of the earth, is shown under the type of restored Sodom and Samaria—The everlasting covenant not made with them, though they are submitted to the sceptre of Messiah-This will exhibit parts of mankind under a peculiar dispensation-Compared to that of Adam in Paradise-Satan confined that he should not deceive these nations-Hence at the termination of his confinement, the second Gog and Magog—Their situation in the four corners of the earth-Jerusalem the object of their attack - The circumstances of this expedition, and the destruction of the enemy, very different from those of the former Gog and Magog.

FROM what has been said, we learn by the word of prophecy to anticipate in what manner Jerusalem will be made “the joy of the whole earth ;” and “in Abraham and his seed all the families of the earth be blessed.” It may still, however, be a question, whether the surviving nations of the earth, are all equally invested with the privileges of restored Israel, or with those blessings which through that nation are to be conveyed to the rest of mankind. And I think there are grounds to expect, that, at least during the millennial period of the everlasting reign, the nations of the earth are not all equally privileged in their being united or subjected to Jerusalem, as the mother church and metropolis of Messiah's kingdom.

What is said in an oracle lately quoted, respecting the receiving of Egypt and Assyria in union with Canaan into this heavenly dominion, can hardly imply less, than, that next to the Holy Land, the very inheritance of the tribes of Israel, these two countries of ancient renown, will receive some superior honour and blessedness, distinguishing them beyond the other nations of the earth. And perhaps other scriptures may lead us to a similar conclusion respecting the now wide-spread deserts of Arabia, in that day to be a well-watered garden, “bursting forth into blossom like the rose-bud.” Thus Abra ham's native country “beyond the river,” the abode of the ancient patriarchs, and, together with the land of promise, the country where his seed sojourned so long: and moreover that remarkable country, where so many of the children of the circumcised Abraham still survive, and where are found at this day, the descendants of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, who received a promise from the Lord that “He should not want a man to stand before him for ever." These countries seem to be marked out in prophecy as scenes of particular blessedness, under the reign of the promised seed in the world to come. A goodly patrimony this in the midst of the earth, replenished more fully with that glory of Jehovah which shall beam forth nevertheless to all the corners of the earth!

We shall recollect also, that in the scenes displayed in prophecy, respecting the new formation on the earth's surface, we are not only called to witness the beautiful change in the arid deserts of Arabia ; but we are told, “ that Jehovah will dry up the tongue of the Egyptian sea,” the gulph that now separates Arabia from Egypt; and that he will smite the great Assyrian river, the river Euphrates, into seven streams: which, perhaps, taken literally, may be most blessed in its effects, when the Creator renews the face of the earth. Neither can we determine to what extent we are to apply the term Assyria; it may apply to all which Nineveh possessed,

, or over which Nebuchadnezzar reigned in his golden sway.

It cannot be only to denote some small distinction in the privileges of these countries that we have read :

“ In that day,
Shall Israel be a third,
Together with Egypt and with Assyria,
A blessing in the midst of the earth,
Which Jehovah Sabaoth shall bless."

Saying:

Blessed be Egypt my people,
And Assyria the work of my hand,
And Israel mine inheritance.”

In the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel, at the same time, there seems to be given an intimation of another sort of relation between certain portions of the Gentiles and restored Israel. Having parallelled

Jerusalem with Samaria and Sodom for lewdness or spiritual adultery, the divine oracle speaks of a restoration of these nations, when Jerusalem is restored :

Ver. 60, &c.—"Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish with thee an everlasting covenant. Then shalt thou remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sister, thine elder and thy younger; and I will give them to thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah."

Now as the fate of Sodom was, to perish without a remnant, and as we may conclude the reference to Samaria is, when that city was possessed by the mingled people whom the Assyrian conqueror placed there, after he had carried captive the ten tribes, I think the literal Samaria and Sodom cannot be intended; but that they are typically used of some portion of the heathen world, then to be received into the dominion of Israel's King: but not to be taken in the bonds of their covenant-"the everlasting covenant,” of which we treated above. Jerusalem is as a mother to them, they “are given to her for daughters, but not by her covenant."

Now whether we consider this covenant as peculiar to the Jews, or, as I am led to imagine, embracing Egypt, and Assyria, and Arabia, perhaps other remnants besides,-here is a distinct relation pointed out in which the rest of the nations, at least those symbolized by Samaria and Sodom, stand to the God of Abraham and to his people. They are restored, and brought to the knowledge of the true God, and placed in filial subjection to restored and sanctified Jerusalem ; but God does not make with them an unconditional, everlasting covenant, as he does with Israel, so to bring them under the influence of his Spirit, that they shall no more disobey his laws.

This, indeed, will exhibit parts of the human race, under a new and distinct dispensation; in some respects, like that in which Adam was placed at his creation. For you cannot compare the state of the first man, before his fall, to that of a restored Israelite under the new covenant; because, though created upright, there was no engagement on the part of the God of all grace, that he would so influence the spirit of Adam, that he should never exercise his freedom of choice, in any act of departure from him, as there is with the children of Abraham when put in the everlasting possession of the land of Canaan; "and I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”

Those portions of mankind, however, restored without this special covenant, may, in many respects, be compared to our first parents before their fall. Their sins are caused to pass away, God has restored them to the integrity of a righteous creation, and laws and ordinances are given them whereby they may live. The Son of God will reign over them in Mount Zion, and the Spirit of Christ residing in his saints, will be their light and instructor. Under this dispensation they may long abide in happiness; and it appears will be long preserved from putting forth the creature choice and will in

peace and

« PreviousContinue »