Although these expository addresses by David Baron were given as long ago as 1888 they are as relevant and significant today as then.
Mr. Baron was a Jew, well versed in Hebrew customs and literature. After his conversion to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Messiah he enjoyed a remarkable insight into the Scriptures and under the unction of the Spirit exercised an effective ministry both as a Missionary to his own people and as a Bible teacher.
Although he only lived to see a trickle of Jewish immigrants
return to their land, we have seen the establishing of the State of Israel with
a population of over three million.
Nevertheless the majority of Jews (estimates put the figure around ten
million) are still scattered among the nations; many still suffering privation
and hardship. After several wars with
her Arab neighbours, the future of
Speaking and writing at the end of the 19th
century, Mr. Baron foresaw from Scripture a partial return in unbelief as has
taken place. He speaks with deep feeling
of the trials that still lie ahead and glowing
He concludes with a reasoned appeal that the Gospel be taken to the Jews now, that a remnant might be saved, the token of those multitudes who will own the Lord Jesus at His second coming.
So from Scripture, he diagnoses the Jewish Problem, and presents the only solution, not mans, but Gods.
* * *
JEREMIAH 30: 1-17
The word that came to Jeremiah from the, Lord, saying, Thus
speaketh the Lord God of
And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning
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 hands on 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 Jacobs trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith
the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst
thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall
serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, 0 My
servant Jacob, saith the Lord: neither be dismayed, 0
For thus saith the Lord, thy bruise is incurable,
and thy wound is grievous. There is none
to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing
medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten
thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy,
with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity;
because thy sins were increased. Why
criest thou for thine affliction? Thy
sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were
increased, I have done these things unto thee.
Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine
adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil
thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I
will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an
Outcast, saying, this is
* * *
The Jewish Problem
THE UNALTERABLE PROMISE
Until all the writings of the prophet were compiled in one book as we now have it, Jeremiah 30 and 31 formed a distinct prophecy, and was doubtless in circulation amongst the people in a separate prophetic book; and in verse 2 we read that it is a book dictated by God Himself. The subject, then, with which it deals must be one concerning which He is especially anxious to reveal His thoughts. Whatever man may think of it, He considers this matter of immense importance, so that every word must be preserved.
Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
This book, dictated by God Himself, is a very remarkable one;
for though it concerns
For thus said
the Lord: Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the
nations. Publish ye, praise ye, and say, 0 Lord, save Thy people, the remnant
It is a testimony, then, not so much to
* Romans 11: 25.
So here, through the prophet Jeremiah, there is a definite
message, a proclamation, a warning, to the chief of the Gentile nations, and to
the isles afar off, to the same purport, viz.. that
God is not yet done with
In this special book, written at the express dictation of God,
we have the only true solution of the apparently more and more difficult Jewish
question. Apart from Gods revelation,
the Jew is an enigma, a problem beyond the vain attempts of man to solve; and
attempts of the kind, if not based upon the Word, of God, are futile and
impious. The future of
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith Jehovah.
Let us examine this special proclamation addressed to the
Gentile nations with regard to
* Isaiah 18: 2.
The first item in that programme is Restoration.
For lo, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith Jehovah; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it. (Jeremiah 30: 3).
Note the frequent reiteration of the august and glorious name JEHOVAH in this, as in the other verses of this prophecy; as if to give credibility to the announcements made; and to test our faith in the accomplishment of those things for which the eternal, unchangeable name, Jehovah, stands pledged.
Now, what are we to do with this and other prophecies of a
Restoration of the people of
There are several methods of interpretation which seem alike unsatisfactory, and are perhaps responsible for a great deal of Jewish and Gentile unbelief. There is, first of all, the old-fashioned way of so-called spiritualizing the prophecies - making ISRAEL and ZION to mean the Church, and THE LAND to signify heaven; but I confess this system of interpretation has no consistency about it, and makes the Word of God the most meaningless and unintelligible book in the world. For instance, we read here:
I will bring again the captivity of My people
Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah,
that the city shall be built to the Lord from the
In what particular locality in heaven are the
The announcement is: He that scattereth
To what may we attribute the loose system of interpreting the language of the Psalms and prophets, and the extravagant expectations of the universal conversion of the world by the preaching of the gospel, which may be observed in many Christian writers?
To nothing so much, I believe, as to the habit of
inaccurately interpreting the word
I do not
* Proverbs 27: 19.
* Scattered and Gathered, by the late Dr. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool.
Like thousands more, the writer has in the infinite grace of
God been brought out of the darkness of Rabbinical Judaism into the marvellous
light and liberty of the glorious gospel of Christ. He accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah
of Israel and Saviour of the world, on
the ground of a literal interpretation of the prophecies concerning Him;
and he cannot consistently, without
doing outrage to his convictions, accept one principle of interpretation for
one set of prophecies which have already been fulfilled, and another principle
of interpretation for another set of prophecies not yet fulfilled. Rather,
he honestly believes that the manner of fulfilment of those prophecies which
are now history, supplies the only sound basis for the interpretation of those
prophecies with regard to
Another way of dealing with these prophecies of a Restoration is to make them refer to the gathering of the Jews into the Church. But this position also is untenable. The Jews will not be nationally gathered into the Church; for even in the New Testament we have the Jews, as well as the Gentiles, as nations, running parallel with, and continuing separate from, the Church throughout all the period of its history on earth;* and in Rom 11: 25, the inspired apostle is commissioned to announce to the Gentile believers the fact that all Israel will not be saved, that the hardness in part which has befallen that nation will continue until after the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
* 1 Corinthians 10:32.
He that scattered
But perhaps the most plausible way of explaining such
predictions is to represent them as having had their fulfilment at the
* Genesis 15: 7-21; 17: 7, 8, 19, 21.
1. The Restoration promised here is a complete one:
I will bring again the captivity of My people
and the number who will return shall be a great company,* so that even the whole of the promised land will not be large enough for them.** The same appears in that remarkable prophecy of Isaiah 11, which, on whatever system of interpretation we adopt, is admittedly future in its application, where the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah are to be gathered together. The same appears again in Ezekiel 37, where there is a future announced for the whole twelve tribes reunited in one kingdom. Many more passages might be cited which speak of the complete Restoration of the entire nation in terms most unequivocal and minute; which certainly could not be said to have received their fulfilment in the - comparatively speaking - mere handful who returned from Babylon.
* Jeremiah 31: 8. ** Zech. 10: 10; Isaiah 49: 19, 20.
II. After the Restoration predicted in
this and other prophecies,
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of Hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him (Jeremiah 30: 8).
Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies, which Jehovah shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in want of all things; and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck. (Deut. 28: 47, 48).
But this iron yoke of Gentile oppression was not to last for
ever. This is clear even from the solemn
words of the Lord Jesus, when, after announcing the fact that
* Luke 21: 24.
And when they be fulfilled, the yoke will be broken, and Israel will once more not only be free and independent, but nationally supreme among the nations.*
* Isaiah 60: 9-16.
But has this ever yet taken place? Let those who point to the restoration from Babylon as an exhaustive fulfilment of these prophecies compare, for instance, such a passage as Isaiah 14: 1, 2, where we read that, -
Jehovah will have mercy on Jacob, and
will yet choose
Let them compare this with Nehemiah 9: 36, 37 which describes the actual condition of the people after their restoration:-
Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that Thou gayest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it; and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom Thou hast set over us because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.
III. According to the express declaration of the prophet Isaiah, there is to be a second Restoration, which is to be universal in its character.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set
His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which
shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush,
and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the
sea. And He shall set
up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of
Now, there has been no second Restoration as yet; neither
could the return from
Israel has never yet in all its fulness possessed the land which God has promised
The infidel Voltaire is
said to have scoffingly remarked on Exod. 3: 8, where God says that He has come down
to deliver Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of
that land into a good land and a large that the God of the Jews must have been a petty God,
because He gave them a land not larger in size than Wales, and called it a large land.
But this is only in keeping with the style of infidel scoffers in
general, who find it easy to ridicule things about which they know very
little. It is only ignorance that could
represent the land called in Exod. 3: 8, a large land as being no larger in size than
* Genesis 15: 8-18.
What though generations may pass, and instead of the fathers may be the children: heaven and earth shall pass away, but Gods oath and promise cannot fail.
It is very remarkable that when we come to the future re-division of
the land in the last chapters of Ezekiel, it is no longer merely from Dan to
Leaving out for the moment the brief ordeal and baptism of suffering
which awaits Israel immediately on their return to their land, with which we
shall deal presently, the Restoration announced in this and other prophecies is
to be followed by a National Conversion (Jer. 30: 8-10).
* Jeremiah 31: 31-34.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
And by the same prophet in the
following chapter - 37: 21-23; and in many other passages of Scripture.
Now, such a national conversion has
surely never yet taken place. The
There is to be a gathering of
I will bring again the captivity of My people of
Now, supposing that since these inspired announcements by Amos and Jeremiah there had already taken place a hundred dispersions and a hundred restorations, we would still be justified in believing in yet another gathering, after which there should be no more scattering.
* * *
THE TIME OF
The second item in the Divine programme of the future of
And these are the words that the Lord
What! you say, will not all the sufferings of
And the word of Jehovah came unto me,
saying: Son of man, the house of
Here, too, the terrible, fiery furnace immediately succeeds
the gathering into the midst of
But may not this time of Jacobs trouble refer to the awful calamity which befell the nation at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, which was repeated with perhaps still greater severity about sixty-five years later in the time of Bar Cochba and Hadrian? No! The ordeal announced here through which Israel is to pass is terribly sharp, but brief in its duration, as suggested by the very figure employed which is that of a woman in travail; and it ends in their salvation: while the sufferings at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus only inaugurated a long series of dispersions, massacres, spoliations, and oppressions, which has already continued for more than eighteen centuries. Of course, it is not denied that these long-enduring sufferings were predicted in the Word of God, and have their place and relation to Israels apostasy and future glory; and, in one sense, the time of Jacobs trouble may be only a summing up, a culmination, of all that has preceded: but it is clear that there is a time of purging by fiery judgment awaiting Israel after the return to their land, which will immediately precede their national conversion and the revelation to them of the Messiah, whom, as a nation, they have so long rejected.
What have we in the last chapters of Zechariah? -
Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God (Zech. 14: 1, 2; 13: 8, 9).
This is the immediate prospect after
* Amos 5:18, 20. ** Micah 7:8. *** Amos 9: 8.
Suddenly, when the cloud will be
thickest, and the anguish most acute; when even the small remnant that shall be
left of Israel shall despair of hope, and Israels enemies be most certain in
their own minds of accomplishing their purpose of utterly exterminating that
people whom they will think has been given over to them as a prey; when the
proud spirit of the haughty Jew shall be broken, and humility and penitence
take the place of stubbornness and pride; when the priests, the ministers of
the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, saying, Spare Thy People, 0 Lord, and give not Thine heritage to
reproach; and when the whole people, brought
to such extremities that they will be willing to receive help from whatsoever
quarter it may come, cry Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou
wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence! Be not wroth very sore, 0 Lord, neither
remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech Thee, we are all Thy
people!* - then, suddenly, with the
speed of lightning, and attended by all His saints and hosts of angels, shall
the same Jesus, who ascended bodily and visibly on a cloud from the Mount of
Olivet, so and in like manner, be revealed again: but this time in a special
and peculiar manner, as Israels King and Deliverer. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,
which is before
* Isaiah 64:1, 9. ** Zechariah 14: 3, 4.
with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many (Joel 2: 11; Isa. 66: 15, 16).
Just as that shepherd of Bethlehem - himself one of the most perfect and beautiful types of Him who is his great Son, as well as Lord slew both the lion and the bear, and saved from their jaws the lamb which was taken possession of by them as their prey: so will the Shepherd of Israel save the remnant of His people from the hands and jaws of those who are stronger than they; and slay them who devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped with their feet, His chosen, with a fierceness exceeding even that of the bear and the lion.*
* Rays of Messiahs Glory, by David Baron.
* * *
The third item with regard to
I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him; but they shall serve Jehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will, raise up - [i.e., up, and out of the Paradise of Hades the place of the souls of the godly dead in the heart of the earth, at the time of the First or Better Resurrection. Luke 23: 43; Acts 2: 27, Gk., R.V.; Matt. 16: 18; 12: 40; Rev. 20: 5; Heb. 11: 35b.] - unto them.
It is unnecessary to prove that by David their King, is here meant their Messiah. Even the Talmud says, David their King, whom I will raise up unto them and not whom I have raised up unto them - showing that it is not king David who reigned in Jerusalem some four hundred years before, who is meant, but the Messiah who is to be of Davids seed.** In truth, He is the true David, the Beloved, the King after Gods own heart, in whom the promises of God centre.
* Jeremiah 23: 5, 6.
[* It is also written, and by the same prophet of God: In that day, declares the Lord Almighty, I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lore their God AND DAVID THEIR KING: (Jer. 30: 8, 9, N.I.V.).
The whole thrust of Peters first sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2: 14-39), was to prove that Messiah, by Himself; and no others (Mark 9: 9); had, in fact, risen out from amongst the dead in Hades: and that David did not ascend to heaven with Him at that time! (verse34): but, when Messiah returns to resurrect the godly dead and establish His Millennial Kingdom upon this earth, David will then be amongst those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection [out] from the dead (Luke 20: 35, N.I.V.).]
There are a number of passages where the name David is applied to the King Messiah in the Old Testament., but two are especially remarkable. In Hosea 3, after that wonderful prophecy delivered nearly eight hundred years before Christ, and which answers exactly to the present state of Israel, it is stated, afterward - that is, when their present condition of banishment from their land and apostasy from God shall come to an end -
shall the children of
They shall seek Jehovah their God, and David their King. They shall serve Jehovah their God, and David their King: so that there is neither true seeking nor true serving of Jehovah God, if we do not also seek and serve David (Messiah)* the King, notwithstanding all that poor Israel now thinks to the contrary.
[* When God speaks of TWO people, He never means ONE! To place Messiah in brackets above is misleading! Both Messiah and David, will be sought and served during the Millennial Day (2 Pet. 3: 8).]
And note the more than human character and dignity of this
great David. He claims equal allegiance
with God; for whatever is implied by they shall serve Jehovah their God, must be meant also in the words and
they shall serve David their King. But
there is a glorious truth wrapped up in these two passages, which must not be
overlooked. In foretelling their state
during the time when
Just about the time of Zedekiah, the last prince who ever sat on the throne of David, the prophet Ezekiel came with this startling announcement: Remove the mitre and take off the crown; it shall not be (or, this is no more it): exalt the low, abase the high (or, let anarchy and usurpation of the throne of David continue). I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; this shall be no more until He come whose right it is; to Him it shall be given. And so it has proved. For all those centuries before Christ, and for all these nearly nineteen centuries since Christ - a fact which only inspiration could have foreseen - in spite of every effort and Jewish ambition, there has been no re-establishment of the throne of David.
It is true that in the second century B.C. a kingdom existed
for a short time in Judea; but the kings were not of the house of David, nor
even of the tribe of
Until He come, whose right it is: to Him it shall be given*
* Lit. Hebrew, Ezek. 21.
Who is this but Jesus of Nazareth? the King of the Jews, concerning whom it was announced at His birth: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. According to the commonly-received view, there is indeed no importance in the title Son of David as belonging to Christ: except, perhaps, as proving that He descended from David, and enabling us to trace His genealogy. But it is evident that the announcement of the angel attaches to it far greater importance than this, inasmuch as it asserts for Him, as Son of David, the throne of His father David. And what throne is that? Not the throne of heaven, nor yet the throne of Gods spiritual kingdom, for neither of these was, or could have been, occupied by David, or could be inherited by Christ as Son of David. The throne intended, then, must be the throne of the kingdom of Israel, and that it is so, the words of the angel testify; for having said, The Lord God shall give to Him the throne of His father David, he adds: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.*
* Rev. W. Burgh.
The idea now generally entertained is that the throne on which Christ now sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high is that meant by the angel in this announcement to Mary; but this view is not based on a comprehensive and mature study of the Word of God. Take, for instance, Rev. 3: 21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
Here the Lord Himself tells us that the throne over which He
now sits is not His, but the Fathers, who invited Him to share it with Him as
a token of His perfect satisfaction with the finished work of His beloved Son;
and that He only occupies this place
until He takes possession of His own throne, on which He will grant the privilege
of sitting with Him to all those who have been faithful to Him in this
rebellious world. When Christ
appeared for the first time, had
There is an old saying which Bengel was very fond of: Deus habet horas et moras, God has His own times and ways. There are pauses in history; but during those pauses, which are occasioned by the unbelief, the ignorance, and the disobedience of His own people, and are made subservient to the wisdom of God, the great Musician does not forget the melody, and at the proper time it is continued.*
* Dr. A. Saphir.
The King whom
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (Matthew 23: 38, 39).
Or, as we have it in Hosea 5: 15:-
I will go and return unto my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face; in their affliction they shall seek Me early.
Meanwhile, another underlying parallel purpose of God, even
the mystery of the Church, has been revealed, which more than ever makes
manifest the manifold wisdom of God. But what about the Tabernacle of David? What about Christs relation to
The Kings departure, however long its
duration, is but for a limited time: Until ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Till they acknowledge their offence and seek My face, and then,
corresponding with what was said above, it is added: In their
affliction - in
the time of Jacobs trouble (the same word in the original being used in both
places) - they
shall seek Me early.
And when once they seek Him, that face, which in a little
wrath has been hid from them for a moment,* will be
lifted upon them in full splendour. I will return
and build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and I will build
again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up;** and the Lord
shall yet reign in
* Isaiah 54: 8. ** Amos 9: 11, 12. *** Isaiah 24: 23. **** Hosea 3: 4.
Now, compare this with Ezekiel 37, and see a most beautiful truth about the Lord Jesus in
Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of
[* See note above and read R. Govetts tract: The Promises to Abraham Never Yet Fulfilled. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all
the prophets will inherit
But, you say, do not the two terms substantially mean the same
thing? No; the word in the original
translated prince in this passage, does not mean prince in an
hereditary sense of the word. Nassi,
the term used, signifies one exalted, or elected by the free will of
the people. What a glimpse we get here of the change
that will come over
This simply means that
Meanwhile, instead of a throne on Mount Zion and the hosts of Israel, his court was outside the camp, and his following consisted of his brethren and all his fathers house, And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented - a strange, typical lot, not numbering altogether more than about four hundred men.* But at last, after those years of rejection, the peoples heart turned toward him, and the men of Judah came and - as if he had never been anointed king before there (in Hebron) they anointed David king over the house of Judah.**
* 1 Samuel 22:1, 2. ** 2 Samuel 2: 4.
The rest of the tribes of Israel still opposed David, and ranged themselves under the banner of Ishbosheth; until about seven years later the heart of all the people turned toward him, and all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron, and king David made a league with them in Hebron before Jehovah, and they anointed David king over Israel.*
* 2 Samuel 5: 3.
Thus it is with Christ. From His incarnation He was designated King of
the Jews. Jehovah Himself had anointed
Him as His King on the holy hill of Zion; and it was even then announced that the Lord God
shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the
house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. But my people knew not the day of their
visitation: and for all these centuries have resolutely, as a nation, refused
to acknowledge His claims. Meanwhile also, the god of this world, the prince of
the power of the air, is permitted in the infinite wisdom of God to usurp Christs sovereignty
over the nations; and the followers of our blessed, glorious Master are a mere
handful of individuals from all
nations who spiritually are like that motley crowd in the cave of Adullam, in distress, in debt, and discontented, or bitter
of soul because
of a sense of sin and sorrow. These are
painfully conscious that Jesus Christ is not yet accepted King over the earth;
for instead of a crown which will come by and by, we have to take up His cross
and follow Him, without the camp bearing His reproach.* But as sure as there was a cross planted for Him on that
Golgotha, outside the walls of Jerusalem, so surely, if the word and oath of
our God stand for anything, is there yet to be a glorious throne for our
Redeemer and Master on Mount Zion. The stone
which the builders have rejected has become the headstone of the corner; and, however marvellous and
improbable in our eyes,
* Hebrews 13: 13.
* * *
PRESENT CONDITION OF
After proclaiming the fact of their restoration, and
describing the glad day when the remnant of
Therefore fear thou not, 0 My servant Jacob, saith Jehovah; neither be dismayed, 0
* Zephaniah 3: 9.
It is beautiful to note how the people are encouraged to draw consolation and hope in their present desolation and sufferings, from the brightness and glory which is yet to break upon them. Therefore - in view of the glorious prospect just dilated on fear thou not, 0 My servant Jacob. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Gloomy indeed is the prospect of the present state of the Jewish people in its dispersion and unbelief, if viewed apart from the bright morn of promise so clearly foretold in the Word of God; but, in the light of the bright future, even the present darkness and gloom become less intense. How full of consolation is the assurance that Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid!
The present state of the peculiar people has been foretold with minute exactness in predictions like the following:-
For lo, I will command, and I will
sift (lit. toss or shake about) the
Or, in the words of Jeremiah:-
I will even give them up to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth for evil; to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them (24: 9, R.V.).
0 ye who doubt the inspiration of the Book of books, compare these prophecies of thousands of years ago with what is going on before your very eyes! How can we account for the repeated dispersions, and the continued, unceasing wanderings and strange restlessness of the Jew, apart from these ancient inspired utterances? That Palestine should be vanquished, and that Israel should be cast out of their own land, or even be dispersed among the nations, was within the range of human possibility, and maybe within the power of a shrewd observer to forecast; but, that for centuries and centuries, a people vanquished and scattered out of their own country, instead of becoming absorbed among the nations - as has been the case with other peoples; and instead of taking root and finding rest in the new soil to which they have been transplanted, should retain a separate existence, everywhere dwelling alone, and not reckoned among the nations, yet in all places kept in a state of unrest, and continually agitated or tossed about: who, but He whose hand has kept up this standing miracle as His witness among the nations could have foreseen or foretold that?
Before even their first settlement in
Joseph Cartophilus, a Jew, was door-keeper at the Praetorium of Pontius Pilate when Jesus was led away to be crucified. As Jesus halted upon the threshold of the Praetorium, Cartophilus struck Him on the loins, and said, Move faster. Why do you stop here? Jesus turned round to him and said: I go, but you will wait till my return. Cartophilus, who was then thirty years old, and who has always returned to that age when he has completed a hundred years, has ever since been awaiting the coming of the Lord and the end of the world. This wretched man, who must exist in spite of his longing for death, and desperate efforts at self-destruction, is further said to be possessed with a spirit of restlessness which makes him ceaselessly wander over the face of the earth.
Who cannot see the application of this legend to the whole tribe of the wandering foot and weary breast? More than eighteen hundred years ago, when Israel insulted their Messiah, and hastened Him to the cross, Jesus, with a pitiful but disappointed look, turned to them, and said: The Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him; but this generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled; for I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth till ye shall say: Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Forthwith Israel, taken possession of by a spirit of restlessness, had to take staff in hand, and gird his loins, and commence his wanderings amongst the nations.* Still they are on their weary march, which has already extended over a period of nearly two millenniums.
* Hosea 9: 17.
How often has not my people built a nest for itself, and said: Here let us rest! But, as often has God put His hand under the nest and said: Arise and depart, for this is not your resting-place!
That which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say: We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries (Ezekiel 20: 32).
If God had cast away His people which He foreknew, He would have let them alone to go to national destruction and amalgamation, which they courted; but no, even in these repeated dispersions and long-continued wanderings and chastisements, we see Gods faithfulness to His covenants, and love for His people. Israel gives us the picture, on a national scale, of Gods dealings with a backslider. And surely it is in love and mercy that rest and peace are taken from those that wander from God. If the prodigal in the far country had found what his heart desired, he might never have turned his thoughts to his father and his home.
Thou turnest man to the very dust, and sayest, Turn, 0 children of men! (Psalm 90: 3, Heb.).
Each stroke, each separate edict of banishment from one
country or the other, which has, as it were, been Gods word of command to the
nation to resume its long march, each calamity and wrong which has befallen the
dispersed people, has been a call from God: Turn ye! turn ye! from your evil ways; for
why will ye die, 0 house of
If then, their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land (Leviticus 26: 41, 42).
But the day is not far distant when God will heal their
backslidings;* and then at the cross, where they commenced,
* Hosea 14: 4.
For I am with thee, saith Jehovah, to save thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations, whither I have scattered thee, but I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee with judgment, and will in no wise leave thee unpunished (Jer 30: 11, R.V.).
This agrees with what the same prophet says in another place:-
Thus hath Jehovah said, The whole land shall be desolate, yet will I not make a full end (Jer. 4: 27).
And again, in giving His mandate to the nations to go up upon her walls and destroy, He is careful to put in the reservation clause, but make not a full end.* We also read in Amos 9: 8,
Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah.
* Jeremiah 5: 10.
Let the miracle of the continued existence of the Jewish people bear witness to Jehovahs faithfulness to His promises, as well as to His threatenings. By the word of God was this nation first brought into existence; and by the word of God it continues to exist, and nothing can move it.
It surely is not necessary to remind the world that there are no thanks due to the Gentile nations - especially not to professed Christendom - that there is such a being as a Jew now left on the face of the earth. What force or influence is there, which might be supposed to tend to the utter extermination of the people, which has not been brought to bear upon them with terrible severity for many centuries? On whatever else the nations of the earth were divided, they were at one on this point; and, to use the language of Psalm 83: 4, which will be the war cry of the final great confederacy of the nations who will assemble against Jerusalem, they have said:-
Come let us cut them off from being a
nation; That the name of
Popes, councils, bishops, monks, kings, and peoples, seemed
equally enraged against them, and equally determined on their extermination. To effect this, every
expedient has been tried, but all have equally failed. Let me remind the reader of a few typical
actions on the part of the great representatives of the Gentile world, to
illustrate their attitude to
Pharaoh, the head of the Gentile world of his time, conceived
the idea of a policy of extermination against the chosen people, and he tried the
expedient of water. Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, was the stem edict. But what was the result?
Darius, another great monarch of the Gentile world, tried the expedient of throwing one Jew, the representative of his people, to wild beasts. But God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths, so that they did not hurt him; although these same lions had the mastery of Daniels enemies, and brake all their bones in pieces, or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
Were these occurrences mere chance? Oh no! they
were in fulfilment of that wonderful promise, primarily given to
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isaiah 43: 2).
Coming to more modem times, it may well be said that no weapon
that was forged against
Note the eloquent appeal of a Jew: Braving
all kinds of torments - the pangs of death, and still more terrible pangs of
life - we have withstood the impetuous storm of time, sweeping indiscriminately
in its course nations, religions and countries. What has become of those celebrated empires,
whose very name still excites our admiration by the idea of splendid greatness
attached to them, and whose power embraced the whole surface of the known
globe? They are only remembered as
monuments of the vanity of human greatness.
* Michael Beers. Appeal to the Justice of Kings.
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of Hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever. Thus saith Jehovah, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah (Jeremiah 31: 35-37).
* * *
For thus said Jehovah, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There, is none to plead thy cause that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All, thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with a wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? Thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee (Jeremiah 30: 12-15).
But, lest the Gentiles should mix themselves in Gods controversy with His people, and say, as they have done: God hath cast them off; come, let us destroy Israel from being a nation, there is put in, as a parenthesis, the warning:-
Therefore, all they that devour thee
shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them shall go into
captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all they that prey
upon thee will I give for a prey. For I
will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith
Jehovah; because they called thee an outcast, saying, This
What a picture of
Behold this bruised and wounded man, 0 church of Christ; and
may God give you the heart of the Good Samaritan and the compassion of Jesus! Do you realize the present helplessness of
And, think of it, whoever you are, who have some such thoughts as the above in your mind! Is not the Jew a sinner? Has not God said: The soul that sinneth, it shall die? Has not Jesus Christ said: If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins? Must the Son of God come down from heaven to die on the cross in order to save you, and can the Jew be saved by morality? Must you have a Saviour to comfort you in your sorrow and in the hour of death, and can the Jew do without Him?
Out of Christ, it is not a question what a man has; but what he has not. If a sick man were lying in a room fitted up with shelves full of bottles of all sorts of drugs, what avail would it be to him if the only remedy which could alone save him were wanting? He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son (be he never so moral, wise, and influential), hath not life.
You say: Granted Israels case is helpless; but have you not just said that it is also hopeless? Does not God say: Thy bruise is incurable; thy wound is grievous: and again, in the fifteenth verse: Thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity!
Yes, altogether hopeless, as well as helpless, from the human standpoint; but search and see: you will not find either of these words in the vocabulary of God. Helpless! Hopeless! Is the arm of Jehovah shortened at all that it cannot save? Behold, says God, through Jeremiah, in relation to this very subject, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?* Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty (or hidden, fortified, or inaccessible) things, which thou knowest not.** Thy bruise is incurable, thy wound is grievous, says man. I will restore health unto thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds, says Jehovah.
*Jeremiah 32: 27. ** Jeremiah 33: 3.
Is not the
* Romans 1: 16.
Look again at
Son of man, can these dry bones live? ... So I prophesied as He commanded me; and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Look at another figure of unbelieving
God is able to graft them in again. For if thou (Gentile) wert cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted, contrary to nature, into a good olive tree, how much more shall these (Israelites) which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! (Romans 11: 23, 24).
For I will restore health unto thee,
and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Jehovah. Because they called thee an outcast, saying, This is
Those not acquainted with the original lose very much of the
force of this last verse. Some
Christians are very fond of the term
Understand therefore, that Jehovah thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people (Deut. 9: 6).
Can any good thing come out of
Alas! in a moment of Gods righteous
anger, this garden of the Lord has become withered, as if smitten by some
sirocco blast. The boar out
of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. They called thee an outcast, saying, This is
* Psalm 50: 2.
But, some will say,
* Jeremiah 31: 10.
Again, the work of conversion - whether of individuals or of
nations, whether of Jews or of Gentiles - is always a work which only the power
of God can accomplish; but that does not mean that the Church of Christ is to
fold her hands as she has done for many centuries, and do next to nothing. What
your attitude to
(1) It should be an attitude of prayer. Do you aspire to be one of Jehovahs remembrancers? Then hark to His command:
Ye that make mention of the Lord
that are Jehovah's remembrancers] keep not
silence and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till, He make
Let there be the hearts desire and believing prayer unto God
* Romans 10: 1.
And lest you should not know how to pray about this matter,
God Himself has condescended to supply you with a form of prayer for
For thus saith Jehovah, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; publish ye, praise ye, and say, 0 Jehovah, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel (Jeremiah 31: 7).
Has compassion, has gratitude for the wonderful blessings
which you have received through them as the channel, yea, has
Gods clear word of command ever made your heart to go out after this manner in
the prayer of faith for poor sick
(2) It should be an attitude of service. When Ezekiel was made by the Spirit of God to pass through and round about the dry bones in the valley of vision, the Lord put the question to him, Son of man, can these dry bones live? And the prophets answer was: 0 Lord God, Thou knowest! as much as to say: It is certainly beyond the power of man to do anything in such a case. The giving of life, whether physical or spiritual is Thy prerogative and in Thy power; Thou alone must do it - 0 Lord God, Thou knowest!
But there followed a command from the great God which must have seemed strange to the prophet. Yes, said Jehovah, life is My prerogative, and I am going to bestow it: Thus saith the Lord God, behold, 0 my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, ... and will put My spirit in you, and ye shall live. But, son of man, there is something which you must do, so that the life which I alone can give may come to these dead bones. Prophesy unto these bones and say unto them, 0 ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah.
Now, this is precisely what the Church has neglected to do, and yet it wonders that there has been no noise, no mighty shaking, or many signs of life among the dry bones.
0 ye Christians who are fond of speaking of Jewish unbelief, and have a pious aversion to poor Israel, because he calls not on the name of Christ, How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Know ye not that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God? And know ye not that for centuries and centuries the gospel of their own Messiah has been withheld from them; and the name of the Blessed Saviour was made to be blasphemed among them by the terrible cruelties which have been perpetrated on them, and the awful caricature of Christ which has been presented to them by those who have professed His name; and that to this day, in spite of a few recent, inadequate, and not always wisely directed efforts, the great mass of the Jewish nation is left in perfect ignorance of the holy name of Christ, and of the very existence of such a book as the New Testament?
You believe that Gentiles can only be born again by the Spirit
of God; yet you do not expect those to whom the gospel has not been preached to
believe and call on the name of Christ!
But how, some may ask, does this advocacy of the
evangelization of the Jews tally with what has been shown in an earlier chapter
Why, in the same manner as the evangelization of all the Gentile nations is consistent with the plain teaching of the Word of God:
that not one of them, as a nation, will be converted before Christs return, and the conversion of
Our commission is not to convert any one people or nation, but to evangelize all - to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; and the results of this work of universal evangelization have been already foretold. As far as Israel is concerned, a remnant according to the election of grace will be called out to call Jesus blessed now; while all Israel shall be saved by and by, when the Redeemer comes out of Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob.* And, as regards the Gentiles, God has visited them in this dispensation by the preaching of the gospel, to take out of them a people for His name: while all the Gentiles are left over to the time when the same Jesus who was taken up into heaven shall so, and in like manner, come back from heaven.
* Romans 11: 5, 26.
Oh, fellow Christian, time is short! Already there are abundant signs that long
scattered and long neglected
Who will be up and doing? Who will rise to the Lords help against the
mighty? Who by their prayers and
substance will help to carry the gospel message to poor scattered
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11: 33-36).