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prophets, such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and others, prophesy of the doings of the house of Israel and the house of Judah subsequent to the times in which they lived, they are speaking of things which will obtain after the brotherhood has been formed and broken up again in the latter days, for it must not be forgotten that Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied to the house of Judah about the time that Judah was carried away captive out of their land to Babylon, which was about 130 years subsequent to the dispersion of the ten tribes, from which dispersion they have never yet returned.
We will therefore point out a few places where Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of the doings of the house of Israel and the house of Judah after the brotherhood will have been broken in the future. In the fifth chapter of the prophecies of Jeremiah one may readily perceive that he is speaking of the future fortunes and doings of God's people, for there he points out the nation of fierce countenance that Moses speaks of, who are to destroy the nation in the time of their calamity, and in verse 6 he refers to the lion, the wolf, and the leopard which are to watch over their cities because their transgressors are many and their backslidings are increased; and therefore the Lord says (verse 9), “Shall I not visit for these things ? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end ; take away her battlements; for they are not the Lord's.” And here observe the form of the language used, for the Lord says, “ The house of Israel, and the house of Judah, have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the Lord. They have belied the Lord, and said (crying peace and safety), It is not he, neither shall evil come upon us, neither shall we see sword or famine. And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
"Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. Their quiver is an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds; they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword. Nevertheless, in those days, saith the Lord, I will not make a full end with you."
Thus the language of Jeremiah corresponds perfectly with the language of Moses where he speaks of the evils which are to overtake the people of Israel in the latter days, and Jeremiah, it must be noted, speaks of it as taking place subsequent to his day, when God's people are again divided into two nations, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah.
Again Jeremiah says (11:9-10), "And the Lord said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words, and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant, which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will (speaking of a future time) bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape: and they shall cry unto me, and I will not hearken unto them.” He hides his face from them in that day, as the song of Moses says.
This prophecy contemplates the things that shall befall the twelve tribes after they have been reunited, and then again divided because of their wickedness. Therefore it must not be forgotten that the house of Israel will be manifested in the last days as two distinct nations, each having kings of their own, Jerusalem being the capital of Judah, and Samaria the capital of Israel. And without this knowledge, no man can interpret the Book of the Revelation.
And now lest some might think the proof of these things as adduced from the testimony of Jeremiah hardly sufficient to establish such things as these, we will refer to the testimony of the prophet Ezekiel. This prophet Aourished and prophesied after the two tribes, the house of Judah, were carried captive to Babylon, and therefore if he prophesies of the good or bad works of the house of Israel future to his times, he must of necessity be speaking of things to transpire future to the times in which we now live, from the fact that the house of Israel has had no existence as a nation since they were carried captive by the Assyrians, and are only known to this day as the “ lost tribes.”
Now what does Ezekiel say of the ten tribes, the house of Israel, and what is to befall them in the latter days, as well as what is to befall the house of Judah? After Ezekiel had been shown the vision of the cherubims, then he sent him to prophesy to his impudent and rebellious people. And the Lord said to him, “I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads, as an adamant, harder than fint have I made thy forehead. Fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house."
This prophet was afterwards directed by the Lord, saying, “ Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: and lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and battering against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city; and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee a day for a year.
Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege" (Ezek.
Then with reference to the food that he was to eat during the time that he
was enacting this sign against the house of Israel and the house of Judah, the Lord said to Ezekiel, “ Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet and fitches and put them in one vessel and make bread thereof according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side; three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight."
And the Lord adds in explanation, saying, “ Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them." This explanation is the key to the whole subject, for when the Lord says to the prophet, “ Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the heathen whither I will drive them," he is speaking of what he will do with the ten tribes of Israel future to Ezekiel's day.
And moreover, as the house of Israel has never since the time of their dispersion, some 130 years previous to Ezekiel's day, returned from their dispersion, or ever existed as a people and nation even up to this nineteenth century of the Christian era, it follows as an actual necessity that the sign that Ezekiel was required to enact with so much care refers to what God intends to do with both the house of Israel and the house of Judah future to the times in which we live, even in the latter days. And there is therefore nothing in the past to which these things can be applied. And here is the fatal error that men have fallen into in endeavoring to interpret these words of the Lord by applying them to things in the past, when the Lord himself says distinctly that they apply to the future, saying, “ Thus shall the house of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.” Note that the Lord does not say, shall they eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles whither I have driven them,” but “ among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.”
The words of the Lord are pure words and mean just what they say, and if men would read them more carefully, they would make fewer blunders and mistakes by which they throw everything into wild disorder. Who is so void of understanding as not to see that before the Lord can drive the house of Israel out of their own land among the Gentiles he must first bring them from among the Gentiles where they have now been scattered for nearly twenty-five hundred years, commencing long before Ezekiel lived ?
When this scriptural view of Ezekiel's prophecies is taken, then all things become plain and easy of interpretation, and speaking further of the famine in Jerusalem, during the siege, the Lord says (4:16), “Moreover, he said unto me, Son of man, Behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and they shall eat bread by weight and with care, and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment, that they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.”
These remarkable signs that the prophet Ezekiel was required to perform in the presence of the people were to show to them the terrible straits that they were to be brought into in the latter days when, as Moses testifies, they were to be besieged in all their cities till they would kill and eat one another
for food in the terrible famine and distress to which they would be reduced by their enemies.
Now Ezekiel points out in explaining these signs: first, that the house of Israel and the house of Judah were to be besieged in the city of Jerusalem wherein they are to be gathered and where they are to make their last stand against the enemy, and in which they will be closely shut up and besieged after the manner of the sign that the Lord showed them by the hand of Ezekiel, until the sons eat their fathers, and the fathers eat their sons; second, that after the city is captured, broken up, and destroyed, and two-thirds of the inhabitants perish by the famine, the pestilence, and the sword, the remainder that is left of the house of Israel and the house of Judah are then to be driven into captivity,— the house of Israel for a period of 390 years, and the house of Judah for a period of forty years. These captivities are measured; they commence with the second downfall of the whole house of Israel in the latter days, and they terminate during the reign of Christ and his brethren on the earth.
Now the full meaning and application of these remarkable signs is very forcibly set forth in the fifth chapter, where the mighty events which mark the fall of the kingdom of Israel and the city of Jerusalem are most graphically described as follows: “And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head, and
upon thy beard; then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled; and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife; and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.” Then follows the application.
THE JUDGMENT OF JERUSALEM “ Thus saith the Lord God, This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her; for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.” This statement shows that the Lord had called upon the nations to accept and obey his statutes and judgments, that they might derive the benefits which would flow therefrom by becoming partakers in the hope of Israel. But we are here told that this they had refused to do, but served other gods, and walked after the imagination of their own hearts.
This no doubt accounts for the fact that when faithless Israel is spoken of as a harlot they also are called women, for in this chapter (verse 8) the Lord says of Israel and Jerusalem, “Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee, in the sight of the nations." This same thing is spoken of elsewhere as being done in the sight of women, saying, “They shall burn their houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women" (Ezek. 16:41). Moreover, the judgments that
these lewd women of the nations see executed upon Aholah and Aholibah are to be a warning to them, as it is said (Ezek. 23:48), “Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.” And when these nations are employed to execute judgment upon the rebellious house of Israel, under the symbol of locusts and under the sounding of the fifth trumpet, they are described as having hair, as the hair of women (Rev. 9:8), thus identifying them as the very people that Ezekiel spoke of, that had refused the Lord's command to identify themselves with his people.
But the Lord continues (Ezek. 5:7) saying, “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Because ye be multiplied more than the nations, that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you, therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee, in the sight of the nations. And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations."
This passage is worthy of special attention, inasmuch as this judgment upon Jerusalem and her people is to exceed in severity anything that has ever been done in the past, or anything that is ever to be done in the future, counting from the time that this judgment is poured out. Now how shall we determine definitely when this is to be fulfilled? How shall we know whether this has transpired in the past, or whether it is yet to transpire in the future? We reply, By comparison, for there can be but one such period in Israel's history; and as this is the grand climax of Israel's punishment, we find that there are other prophets which have spoken of this same judgment, and in the same style of language as that which the Lord employs by the hand of his servant Ezekiel.
The Lord speaking again by the mouth of Jeremiah says, " For thus saith the Lord, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hand upon his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it. It is even the time of Jacob's trouble. But he (the remnant, the true Jacob) shall be saved out of it" (30:5-7).
Again Jesus, speaking of the end of the (Mosaic) world, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the sorrows and evils that are to attend it, says, “ For then shall be great tribulation, such as there was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be " (Matt. 24:21). Again in the vision of Daniel recorded in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters, the angel said to Daniel, speaking of the fall and overthrow and destruction of the king of the north upon the mountains of Israel and what was to befall Daniel's people in the latter days, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth 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 same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (that is, written among the living in Jerusalem (Isa. 4:3]). “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall