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This prophecy is plainly confined to the last ages, by its relating, as Ezekiel expressly teaches, to the restoration of the house of Israel, of all the house of Israel: for only some scattered individuals of the ten tribes returned with Judah from Babylon. It declares, that, although God will assuredly restore the whole Hebrew pation, yet he will not fail to visit upon them their iniquities. He will plead with them in what the prophet calls the wilderness of the peoples *, as he pleaded with their
* It is difficult to say, before the event, what precise idea we are to annex to this expression. Mr. Fraser imagines, that the Jews are to be collected into some wilderness in Assyria; that there they are to be supernaturally taught and supported during the space of 40 years, according to the number of the ycars which they formerly sojourned in the wilderness of Egypt; and that at"length they are to issue forth in a vast body, overthrow the Antichristian faction in Palestine, and repossess themselves of their ancient inheritance by force 'of arms (Key to the Prophecies, p. 259–352.). But this conjecture does not quadrate with the general tenor of other prophecies ; which, though they speak of a two-fold return of the children of Israel, uniformly represent both divisions as brought back by the instrumentality of other nations, not as returning in an independent and insulated condition (See Isaiah xviii. 2,7. 1x. 3-11. Ixvi. 19, 20.). Hence, I doubt whether Ezekiel's comparison ought to be strained so far as Mr. Fraser strains it. The idea seems to be this: that, as Isrued
fathers during the exodus from Egypt; and will purge out from among them the rebels and the transgressors.
From - such denunciations, we must necessarily infer, that the complete restoration of the whole house of Israel will be long in accomplishing, and that some of its members will suffer severely in the course, of their return. Accordingly Daniel teaches us, that the Jews will begin to be restored at the close of the 1260 years, and during a period of unexampled trouble: and, by computing that a space of 75 years will intervene between the close of the 1260 years and the commencement of the Millennium, and by dividing these 75 years into 30 years and 45 years, he seems to give some warrant to the conjecture that the 30 years will be occupied in the restoration of Judah, and the 45 years in the restoration of Israel. If this be the case, we may conclude; agreeably to the history of the exodus from Egypt which is here set forth as a type of
of old went through many hardships in the wilderness, ere they reached the promised land; so many years should elapse, and the Jews should be exposed to great sufferings, ere their future restoration shall be completed. If the wilderness of the peoples niean any particular place, it is probably some wild desolate region, some region perhaps made desolate by war (see Joel ii. 3, 20.), into which the Jews will be brought in the course of their restoration. " The wilderness of the peoples “ may signify-some particular place or country, , throug! " which they are to pass, in order to their return; jnto their own land.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
the yet future return of the house of Jacob from the countries of their dispersion, that but' fèw only of the generation, that set out to return to their own land, will ever enjoy the possession of it in peace.
There is reason to think from other prophecies, that the calamities, here predicted, will chiefly, if indeed not altogether, befall Judah : for Israel as a nation will not be restored till after the destruction of Antichrist, and will be brought back with great tenderness and respect by the different peoples among which he has been scattered; whereas Judah will be restored in the very midst of the wars of Antichrist, and will suffer; most severely in the struggle between the consending powers.
Nevertheless, the whole house of Jacob shall ulti-; mately be brought back, and converted to the faith of Christ; and these signal events will be instrumental in causing the Lord' to be sanctified in the sight of all the nặtions, and in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel to the very ends of the carth.
Abp. Newcome seems inclined to apply this prediction to the return from. Babylon and the subsequent events; but he is obliged, in so doing, to resort almost entirely to conjecture; and, after all, is by no means consistent even with himself. He supposes the desert, where God is to plead with. his people, to be one between Judea and Babylon. And yet he thinks, that, by the rebels and transgressors, those are intended, “who, after the mur“ der of Gedaliah, went into Epypt, called here " the land of their sojourning. Some of these
were to be carried into Chaldea with the cap“ tive Egyptians *; though the greater part were “ to be consumed t. Some of the obstinately re“ bellious Jews might also sojourn in other neigh“ bouring countries subdued by Nebuchadnezzar,
as Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Tyre; and might " thence be taken into captivity.” The prophet however is surely speaking of those, who should perish in the course of their being brought back out of the various countries of their dispersion into their own land; not of certain Jews, who were destroyed in Egypt, while others were led away captive into Chaldèa. They are plainly to perish while returning from captivity, not while going into captivity. Nor is this all. His Grace very justly interprets the 41st verse to mean, that the nations shall consider the Lord as a great and holy God, when they observe his deliverance of the Jews, and their obedience to him. But when did any such general veneration of God take place, in consequence of the return of Judah from Babylon? This part of the prediction can only be referred to the universal conversion of the nations after the final restoration of Israel, and during the period of the Millennium. And, if it be thus
* Jerem. xliii. 11.
| Jerem. xliv. 12.
referred, then the whole prediction must be similarly referred; as indeed is sufficiently evident from its treating of the restoration of all the house of Jacob out of the various peoples and nations, among which they had been scattered *
The overthrow of the mystic Tyre and her prince
preparatory to the complete restoration and prosperity of Israel.
Ezekiel xxvi. 7. Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people-15. Thus saith the Lord God to Tyre; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded
when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?-21. I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God.
xxvii. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying; 2. And thou, son of man, take up
* See Abp. Newcome's Ezekiel in loc.