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tichrist and Gog and Magog, the one previous to the commencement of the Millennium, the other at its close; whereas St. John, writing the pro
" to suppress religion by open violence, not to undermine it
as formerly by the beast and false prophet.
“ The leader of this expeditiou seems to be chiefly under " the influence of covetousness (Ezek. xxxviii. 11, 12.). The “ multitudes, who join his standard from all corners, besides " the expectation of booty, seem to be actuated with resent“ ment against the discipline of the Church. It would ap
pear, they consider themselves oppressed by the restraints “ of religion, and have recourse to him for protection. This “ is implied in the prophet's ironical address to the leader, Be “ thou a guard unto them. The holiness and happiness of the “ millennial state cannot permit any species of oppression : if " therefore the followers of Giog claim his protection to deliver " them from the dominion of the Church, it must be a desire " to be set free from the restraints of religion. No oppression “ is so grievous to an unsanctified heart, as that which arises “ from the purity of Christianity. A desire to shake off this
yoke is the true cause of that opposition Christianity has “ met with from the world in every period; and will, it is “ most likely be the chief motive to influence the followers of " Gog in his time. It would appear, that all parties joining “ in this expedition are encouraged by the hope of obtaining
an easy conquest, a sentiment they would readily adopt “ from the state of the Church for a thousand years before, “ As they felt no injury, and feared no danger, they were ig“ norant of the art of war, and neglectful of those means of “ defence, which the jealousy and fear of mankind provided * in more perilous times. The prophet introduces Gog medi“ tating on this circumstance in his own mind, and then com-' * municating it to his followers. Ezek. xxxviii, 10, 11-
7. “ The
phetic history of the church in general, does not notice the Jews otherwise than as involved in that church, but simply gives us an account of the overthrow first of the Roman Antichristian confederacy, and afterwards of the Magogian confo deracy.
I consider the whole of Ezekiel from the 34th to the 39th chapter inclusive, as one continued prophecy : for, it' we attempt to divide these evidently connected chapters from each other, where shall we draw the line? where shall we say that the one prophecy ends, and that the other begins ?
Ezekiel first notices the dispersion of Israel through the tyranny of their shepherds or rulers ; who, after grinding their faces and treating thein in all respects as a conquered and debased people, instead of ruling them with gentleness and consulting their political happiness, at length became instruments in the hand of God of dispersing them through all countries. From these shepherds, or (in literal exactness of speech) from their successors and representatives the powers of the Roman empire in its last or broken form, God, at the time of the end, will require his flock. He will set his face against these tyrannical shepherds, who have
7.“ The multitudes that compose the vast army of Gog, are destroyed, partly by the swords of each other, partly by the fire of the elements, as God formerly destroyed his enemies at Armageddon. Ezek. xxxviii. 18-22-Rev. xx. 9." Key to the Prophecies. p. 443–458.
so long persecuted his scattered people, and will cause them to cease from feeding the flock. He will not suffer them to feed themselves any more, Ortiz harass, like their Roman predecessors, the wreich:d Jews with endless extortion and oppression : but he will deliver his flock from their mouth that they may be no more meat for them. As soon as the appointed period, shall arrive, he will search his sheep, and bring them back into their own land from all the countries whither they have been dispersed. He will feed them in a good pasture upon the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places : and will set up one shepherd over them, the mystical David, even Christ the Lord,
At this era however of their first restoration, or the restoration of Judah, the prophet notices a remarkable distinction in the flock, which will serve to explain an apparent contradictoriness of some prophecies to others. We are generally led to conclude, that the Jews will be converted previous to their restoration, but Zechariah undoubtedly speaks of their being converted after it *. How then are we to reconcile this discrepancy? Ezekiel teaches us, that at the time of the restoration God will judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he-goats. He will make a marked
* Sce Zechar, xii. 9-14.
distinction between the fat cattle *, and between the lean cattle; between those that trample down the pastures and foul the waters, and between those who are constrained to eat what is trodden down and to drink what is fouled ; between those that push with the shoulder and thrust with the. horn, and between the weak who are scattered abroad by this unnatural cruelty of their fellows. Y et both these different descriptions of cattle are equally considered as the flock; and are placed in contradistinction to the beasts of the earth, or the tyrannical Roman powers under the influence of Antichrist and the false prophet. By the goats therefore, we must obviously understand certain unconverted Jews, and by the rams, such as are converted. Now it manifestly appears from the tenor of the prophecy, that both the rams and the goats will equally return to Palestine; and that, when they have thus returned, there will be a bitter dissention between them, the goats, labouring by
.אשמיר for the common reading אשמר the strong
Abp. Newcome translates Chap. xxxiv. ver. 16. I will keep the fat and the strong, instead of I will destroy the fat and
; This alteration appears to me very injudicious, for the prophet is plainly distinguishing between the fat and the strong and the lean and the feeble. Accordingly tlie distinction in question is afterwards pointed out again, and the reasons for making it are stated at large. See ver. 20. and ver. 17-23. But his grace's alteration entirely destroys the distinction; and, as it seems to me, materially injures, instead of improving, the sense of
all possible means to injure and expel the rams. It further appears from other prophecies, that the rams or converted Jews will be restored by the instrumentality of the then prevailing protestant European maritime power; and that Antichrist and his host will at that period invade Palestine, and оссиру
Jerusalem. Thus we learn, from comparing these several prophecies with each other, that four different descriptions of persons will then be collected together in Palestine: the great maritime power; the converted Jews; the Antichristiun confederacy; and the unconverted Jews. The converted Jezus we know will be restored by the agency of the maritime power : and how are we to account for the appearance of the unconverted Jews, at the same time in the same country, and in direct opposition to their converted brethren, except by supposing that they are in league with Antichrist, and have been brought back into their own land for political purposes by his instrumeijtality? In the dreadful conflict many of the goats will perish ; for God hath declared, that he will destroy the fat and the strong: many also of the rams will be slain; for God hath taught us, that, although he will not make a full end of his people as he will of the nations of their enemics, yet they shall not altogether escape, he will surely chasten them in exact measure. But at length, when the appointed time shall come, such goats as survive the slaughter of their fellow's will perceive their er