arresting and inspiring book by the author of The Conflict of the Ages. In
the light of the predictions of the Bible the prospects of the Jews, the
Gentiles, the Church and Christendom are masterly unfolded.. Present day world conditions confirm the
nearing fulfilment of these forecasts.
Read the startling signs of the times.
The answer to
age-long question ‘Watchman,
what of the Night?’ is
given. The Morning cometh and also the night.
reviewer: ‘Your book is a deep study such as few
living men could write.’”]
HOW IS IT ALL GOING TO END?
ARNO CLEMENTS GAEBELEIN
Can Man Know the
in the heart of man is a deep desire to know the future. Historians, archaeologists and
anthropologists have furnished abundant evidence that this craving to know
future events, as well as unseen things which man feels exist, was as marked in
the beginning of history, when the human race was in its infancy, as it is in
our own times. The ancient Sumerian
records, written in tablets of clay in the language of a dead past which
scholars have deciphered, bear witness to it.
The learned Francois Lenormant in his master work, “The
Magic, Sorcery, Astrology and Necromancy of the Ancient Chaldeans,”
shows what a prominent place these things had thousands of years ago. The Grecians had oracles in many places which
uttered in trance - speaking their mysterious and mystifying sentences,
claiming to give guidance and to uncover the future. It is an undisputed fact that the attempts to
know things to come are found everywhere, among all nations.
is the supposed art of interpreting the motions of the heavenly bodies as
portents of the future. Ten times the
Bible uses this word. In Isaiah 47:13 astrologers are called “stargazers.” All the other
methods by which ancient man tried to make known things to come are mentioned
in the Bible: Divination, Witchcraft,
Sorcerers, Enchanters and Necromancers.
The flight of birds, known as augury, the entrails of animals, looking
into the liver, consulting images, shooting arrows (Ezekiel
21: 21), the movement of clouds, familiar spirits and a host of other
things were used to find out the secrets of the future. The horrible practice of making a son or a
daughter pass through the fire (Deut. 18: 10)
was not altogether a form of pagan sacrifice, but it was used to get light, in
the form of an omen, of what is to come.
Similar fire-ordeals were practiced by many primitive people.
these attempts were used more than four thousand years ago and can he traced among all nations, the twentieth century with its
boasted enlightenment and progress, makes [Page 12] the same attempts.
The craving to know the future persists and that not alone among the
illiterate, the ignorant and superstitious, but also among the intelligent, the
cultured and so-called higher classes.
All the great daily newspapers of our big cities carry advertisements of
astrologers, who offer their services to furnish horoscopes for individuals and
promise by them to predict what will happen.
But worse than that is Spiritism,
misnamed “Spiritualism.” The enchanters, the wizards, the familiar
spirits of ancient times, and the consulters of the dead, are all reproduced in
this modern cult. Men of the highest
intellectual calibre have fallen for this delusion. We mention the Italian scientist Lombroso, the
great novelist, the late Sir Conan Doyle,
the eminent English scientist, Sir
Oliver Lodge, the late W. E. Stead,
and hundreds of others - educated and highly-connected persons - who in their
superstitious beliefs and practices do not differ at all from the Chaldeans of
four thousand years ago. Some of our
leading universities have their circles for psychical research, the polite name
for necromancy. We also mention the
trance mediums, on the same level with the oracles of the ancient Greeks, the
materializations with their supposed apparitions, palmistry, fortune telling by
cards, readings of the fragments in a tea cup, so popular today among the
young, and a score or more of similar forms of divination and soothsaying. All these things confirm the first sentence
of this chapter – “Inherent in the heart of man is a
deep desire to know the future.”
then, is the origin of this desire? Man
has a future. Nations have a future and
a destiny. It is a postulate of our consciousness, that human history is heading towards a
definite end. It is more than the
question of time or a future of material things. Man is more than the creature of time, the
creature of the dust. Man has endless
being. He has a body over which the
sentence of death is written, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (Gen. 3:19). This is also true of the beast. But man has a soul, the very breath of the
Almighty, and that part can never die.
Man may deny it, but his denial can never give assurance; he is troubled
[Page 13] by
uncertainty. Something speaks in his
heart, which confirms what his blabbering lips try to deny.
is a significant statement in Ecelesiastes,
the book in which the natural man
makes known his observations, obtained by a close study of human nature and
human affairs. Unfortunately that
weighty statement has been not correctly translated. We read about man, “He
(God) hath set the world in their heart”
(Eccles. 3: 11). The meaning is confusing and obscure, how God
sets the world into the heart of man.
The correct translation makes it clear, “He hath
set eternity in their heart,” i. e., the consciousness of eternal
being. This consciousness is the source of man’s desire to know the future.
writer remembers a story which he read in his youth and which, in tender years,
made a deep impression. A young person was asked by a godly man about what he
intended to do. He made known his desire
of procuring a good education to make his mark in the world. The Christian asked, “What then?” And the young
man spoke of his high ambitions of gaining a great reputation, of securing a
high position in life, of having a charming woman for his wife, and sons and
daughters, of becoming wealthy and enjoying life and the pleasures of
life. Each statement was met by the same
question, “What then?” Finally the youth said, “Well, I suppose as all men must die sooner or later, I too
will have to die.” Once more his
questioner said, “What then?” Yes, “What then?” Man
survives the grave and eternity begins.
It is this consciousness which is chiefly responsible for man’s
attempted search of the future.
the same passage from Ecclesiastes there is
written another sentence of importance, “No man can find out the work that God maketh from the
beginning to the end.” In other words, the future is God’s secret; man cannot
find it out by searching or in any other way.
us also remind ourselves that God in His Word has forbidden the various
attempts to know the future, and has pronounced the death penalty upon all who
practice these things (Deut. 18: 10-12). In the New Testament, witchcraft, [Page
14] a term which covers all
spiritistic and occult practices, is classed with murders, fornication and
idolatry as a work of the flesh. If some
professing Christian reads these words, one who has fallen into some form of
occultism, may this serve as a warning.
futile all these attempts are may be learned from a sublime passage in Isaiah addressed to Babylon, “Stand now with thine
enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou has
laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou
mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the
multitude of thy counsels. Let now thy
astrologers, the star gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save
thee from these things that shall come upon thee” (Isa. 47: 12-14). There are two
chief reasons why God has forbidden such peering into the future, and warned
against it. The first is that behind all
these attempts stand the powers of darkness.
The Canaanitish nations which Israel found in their promised land were
steeped in these things, and linked with these satanically controlled attempts
of necromancy, soothsaying and spiritism were the most vile practices, so that
God as a holy and righteous God could not tolerate them any longer, and
commanded their extermination. And
behind the modern occultism and attempts to know the future is the same power.
second reason is because these attempts deny
the creature’s limitation and assume that which is the prerogative of God
alone. Omniscience is one of the great
attributes of God and like Omnipotence and Omnipresence transcends our finite
alone knows the end from the beginning.
In a most impressive way this was revealed through the prophet
Isaiah. Here is the challenge addressed
to the idol gods and to the astrologers and sorcerers of Babylonia.
cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of
Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and
shew us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they be, that
we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things to
come. Show the [Page
15] things which are to come
hereafter, that we may know that ye are
gods; yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together” (Isa. 41: 21-23). It is a divine irony. A parallel passage speaks still more
positively. “Remember the former things of
old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me,
the end from the beginning, and
from ancient times the things that are not yet done,
saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46: 9-10). For anyone who accepts the existence of a
supreme Being it is not difficult to believe that He, besides being omnipotent
and omnipresent, is also omniscient, that all future was for Him, before all
creation, an eternal present.
now arises the most important question: Has the
eternal God, the Omniscient One, made known, to His creature the secrets of the
future? Has He uncovered what the future
holds in store for the human race and for this earth?
If so, where is it to be found? Let us
look at two scenes recorded in the Bible.
In the first one we see a young man, just released from prison. He had been in an Egyptian dungeon, suffering
wrongfully. A great potentate had called
for him and hastily he was brought from prison.
In order to look decently he had to take time to shave himself and to
exchange his prison rags for suitable raiment.
And now he stands before the mighty Pharaoh. He had a dream which troubled his spirit
greatly. He called for all the
sorcerers, astrologers, magicians, charmers and others who infested his royal
Court to give him the interpretation of the dream. They were silent. Then that young man was brought into his
presence, Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob.
He listens to Pharaoh’s dream.
Before he bears the dream he tells Pharaoh, “It is not in me.” He confesses
that he could not know the future revealed in the dream. Then he adds, “God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” Then we hear the Hebrew youth say twice
more: “God hath
showed to Pharaoh what He is about to do”
(Gen. 41: 1-39). Here are two
facts. A believer in God and His power
confesses his inability to know the meaning of a prophetic dream and expresses
his faith in God that He is able to do it.
second scene is staged many centuries later.
Here is another heathen court.
Like the Egyptian Court,
the Babylonian palace is filled with Chaldean soothsayers, magicians,
astrologers, interpreters of dreams and sorcerers. Nebuchadnezzar,
the great God-appointed monarch of a vast world empire, was likewise troubled
about the future. What is in store for
my great monarchy? This question was
uppermost in his mind. God answered him
by a dream. The king demanded more than
an interpretation of the dream. The
dream had been forgotten and the assumed masters of occultism were to make
known what the king had forgotten. It
was the acid test of their powers. They
were helpless and, with the sentence of death hanging over them, they
despaired. In that court was another
Hebrew prisoner, a God-fearing and God-trusting youth with his three
companions. They too were looked upon as
belonging to the same class as the Chaldean impostors.
great faith young Daniel manifested when he appeared before the king and boldly
stated that the king should give him a little time and he would make known the
dream and its meaning! That night there
was a prayer-meeting in Babylon. The one petition was that the God of heaven
should reveal the secret to Daniel. The prayer was speedily answered for the
secret was revealed to the seventeen year old youth in a night vision. He
believed in God’s omniscience and in His mercy to reveal it unto him. After a remarkable outburst of praise (Dan. 2: 20-23) we see Daniel once more in the
presence of the august monarch. But we
must listen to the choice words with which he addressed Nebuchadnezzar.
“The secret which the king has demanded cannot the wise men,
the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,
and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in
the latter days. Thy dream,
and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these; as for me, O king, thy
thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and He that revealeth secrets [Page
17] maketh known to thee
what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me
for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall
make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the
thoughts of thy heart” (Dan. 2: 21-23).
Here man’s impossible task to reveal future things and God’s ability to
reveal secrets and the future are clearly stated with the refreshing humility
of the Hebrew captive, who gives the glory to God.
God did through Joseph and Daniel He has done throughout His Word, the
Bible. One of the outstanding evidences
that the Bible is supernatural, that its writers were the mouthpieces of God,
is the fact of prophecy. “For the prophecy came not in
old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by
the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1: 21). One of the
distinguishing features between the so-called “Sacred
Writings of the East,” so frequently called mistakenly “The Bibles of Other Nations,” and the Holy Scriptures
is that the former know nothing of prophecy and never attempted the forecast of
the future, while the Bible contains the most startling predictions as to
things to come [‘hereafter’]. The fate of
nations, the rise and fall of empires, the onward march of evil, man’s defiance
of God and the final victory of the Lord, as well as the future of the earth
and its final consummating destiny, all is minutely foretold in the Bible. And that these [unfulfilled] predictions are absolutely trustworthy and reliable
is vouched for by many scores of predictions which have found already their literal
fulfilment in the past.
The fact of prophecy in the Bible has therefore drawn the fire of the
enemies of the revelation of God. Porphyry, the great heathen antagonist,
and many other pagan philosophers, have done their utmost to discredit prophecy
and failed miserably. Julian the Apostate in order to prove
prophecy a failure, attempted the rebuilding of the Temple. God answered his attempt by what even Gibbon, in his famous “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,”
mentions as historical facts. “An earthquake, a whirlwind, and a fiery eruption, which [Page
18] overturned and
scattered the new foundation of the Temple,
are attested, with some variations, by contemporary and respectable evidences.” (Vol. III, page 159)
in our own days the liberalists continue the work of Porphyry, the pagan
philosopher, and enemy of supernatural Christianity, and Julian the
Apostate. They too deny prophecy and
ridicule those who believe that God has revealed the future of mankind and the
physical earth. What has been said about
God’s Truth is applicable to prophecy as well: “Truth
is like a torch, the more it is shaken the brighter it
man know the future? We answer without hesitation, Yes. We
can know the future through the Bible, the Word of God, but never apart from it. In the pages which follow we shall give some
of the most startling facts as to the prophecies revealed in the Scriptures,
some of their past fulfilments and the rapidly approaching fulfilment of all
prophecy, when finally every mouth will be stopped and a glorious vindication
comes. The writer is deeply convinced
that the greatest need of the Church today is not only to examine prophecy, but
to put all confidence in it, and walk and serve in the light of coming events,
the shadows of which are rapidly lengthening.
The Beginning of
is not confined to certain books in the Bible which are classified as “Prophetic.”
The first book of the Bible, Genesis,
reveals the beginning of all things including prophecy. In fact everything in this great inspired
historical account is prophetic. History
itself makes known future events. The
first chapter of this great foundation book is in itself prophetic in that it
gives a forecast of the different ages.
As the writer has shown in his “Conflict of the
Ages”, there was an original creation of God – “In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth.” The original earth is seen in the second
verse of the Bible in a state of chaos and darkness. It was submerged in water, symbolical of
death. The six days which
followed are not the days of God’s primitive creation, but the days in which
God reconstructed the chaotic conditions of our planet.
these six days, and also the seventh, are prophetic of
another work of God, His work in redemption. His creature became alienated from Him by
transgression. Sin came and death by
sin. So man needs redemption. The history of redemption in the different
ages, or dispensations, which constitute God’s work-days in producing a new
creation, can he traced in the six days of the first chapter of Genesis. The first man, Adam, is
prophetic of another Adam, the Second Man, the Head of that new creation, who
will recover the lost dominion, when all things are put under His feet. Then comes the great seventh day, the day of [millennial*]
eternal rest, when God shall be all in all, when the work is finished.
[* NOTE. It must
because it has to do with this sin-cursed earth, (Gen. 3: 17, 18).
God’s ‘eternal’ rest will be afterwards
- in “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21: 1), after this earth is destroyed,
‘when the work is finished’. The coming ‘sabbath-rest’
(Heb. 4: 1), is not His ‘eternal rest’.]
man had sinned, Jehovah - God Himself spoke in Prophecy. Genesis 3: 15
is the germ-prophecy out of which all prophecy springs,
a remarkable forecast of history. The Redeemer, His suffering and His final
triumph over evil, is here for the first time revealed. In fact everything in the inspired record of
the beginning of history is prophetic.
The Lord providing a covering for our first parents; the story of Cain
and Abel – Abel’s suffering and tragic death, his [Page 20] acceptance with God, all is prophetic. Cain, the murderer of his own
brother, the vagabond who wanders on with the mark upon him, strangely
preserved, is a forecast of a greater
tragedy when He, whose blood “speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12: 24),
was rejected and slain by His own brethren.
first recorded age is prophetic of every other age, including our own, the age
which is nearing its predicted end. It
was an age of progress and civilization.
This is most wonderfully confirmed by archaeology which has uncovered
the highest types of civilization in the remotest times, civilizations which
can be explained only by a great primitive civilization which ended
suddenly. During that first age,
according to the terse and only record man possesses, cities were built,
discoveries were made, instruments invented, industries flourished. Humanity is
seen divided into two classes, as it is still: the Cainites, the worldlings,
the unbelieving, and the Godly, those who believed and retained the knowledge
of God and found grace in His sight. The
age did not improve, but as every subsequent age, it deteriorated. Civilization with all its “glorious” achievements ended in a tremendous
collapse, as ever since one civilization after another has gone the same
way. Moral and religious corruption set
in. The earth was filled with violence;
the sons of God came down to marry the daughters of men, and on account of the
increasing corruption and vileness “the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man”
(Gen. 6: 1-3). But Noah found grace in God’s
sight. A great coming judgment was
announced. The Ark, a place of salvation and safety was
constructed, and finally the deluge came and the age ended. All this past history is a prophecy of the
future. A student of history has well
said, “History repeats itself.” And Solomon,
the keen observer, wrote: “The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that
which was done is that which shall be done” (Eccles.
Lord confirms all this for He said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the
Son of Man be” (Matt. 24: 37). And the Ark in which Noah and
his house [Page 21] was sheltered, passing through the judgment waters, is in
the light of the New Testament another prophetic type.
must we forget one Antediluvian who was a prophet, Enoch, the seventh after Adam.
walked with God; and He was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5: 24). This brief record is illuminated by
statements in two New Testament Epistles,
Hebrews and Jude. From the former we learn how God took him,
not by death, but by translation. “By faith Enoch was translated
that he should not see death and was not found, because God had translated him,
for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
(Heb. 11: 5). In his
experience he is a prophetic type of the promised translation of the living
Saints before the complete collapse of our present age comes. Enoch before his sudden translation was a
mighty witness. Jude writes: “And Enoch also, the seventh
from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord Cometh with ten
thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that
are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly
committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken
against him” (Jude, verses 14 and 15).
announced a coming judgment. That
judgment was the deluge. Peter reveals in his second Epistle
that it is prophetic of another judgment, though not by water. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of
God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the
water, whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,
perished. But the heavens and the earth
which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against
the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3: 5-7).
have given a telescopic review of part of the prophetic element in the opening
chapters of the Word of God. The second
definite prophecy recorded in the Bible arrests our closer attention. It is Noah’s prophecy. Noah had passed
through a great judgment. He and his
house were saved out of the judgment.
God furthermore had made a [Page 22] covenant with him and elected him the head of a newly constituted
government. But soon man’s failure becomes apparent. In spite of God’s grace and mercy, Noah sins
grievously. We see him in a drunken
stupor and shamelessly exposed. The new
dispensation began with failure and ended with failure. Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth,
were the witnesses of their father’s sin and shame. Ham, the father of Canaan,
gloated over it, while Shem and Japheth acted in great modesty and shielded
their sinful father. When Noah awoke and
found out what had happened, there came from his lips a striking declaration.
“And he said, Cursed is Canaan,
servant of servants shall he be to his brethren. And he said, Blessed
be Jehovah the God of Shem; and Canaan shall
be his servant. Let God
enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan
shall be his servant” (Gen. 9: 25-27).
prediction gives a brief sketch of the history of the nations which came into
existence during the ages which followed the deluge. Here is a curse and a blessing. The curse was pronounced not upon Ham, but
upon one of his sons, Canaan. The blessing rested upon Shem and Japheth.
to Genesis 10: 6, Ham had four sons, Cush,
Mizraim, Phut and Canaan. The curse was pronounced upon the fourth
son. No doubt all the descendants of Ham
were included in the curse. Subsequent
history confirms this. Ham means “black”; hence the black races descended from him.
Canaan and his seed was
singled out in anticipation of their future occupation of the land of promise.
All has found its fulfilment.
confine ourselves to a very few of the historical evidences that Noah’s curse
and blessing was a prophecy. As to Ham and his offspring, history confirms what
Noah said. As we learn from the tenth
chapter of Genesis, Nimrod was the offspring of Cush, Ham was his grandfather. He became the founder of Babylon
in the land of Shinar, so that the ancient Babylonian
civilization was Hamitic in its origin.
Mizraim, the second son of Ham, became the progenitor of [Page 23] the Egyptians.
From Canaan sprang the Canaanitish
flourished for a time and were known for their God-opposition, but both were
reduced to servitude by the descendants of Japheth, the Greeks and the Romans
and others. Canaan
especially became the servant of Shem, the Israelites. When Israel was strong, they put the
Canaanites to tribute (Judges 1: 28). Solomon treated the Amorites, which were left
in his kingdom, and the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and Jebusites, in
the same way, “Upon
those did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service” (1 Kings 9: 20). In Joshua’s day the Gibeonites, who had
sneaked in among the children of Israel, were made servants, “hewers of wood and drawers of
water” (Josh. 9: 27). The
descendants of Ham also populated Africa, and
the negro races became the slaves of the descendants
of Shem and Japheth.
Still more interesting is the blessing pronounced upon
Shem and Japheth. The word “Shem” means “the name.” Noah speaks of the Lord God of Shem. It is a hint that Jehovah-God would reveal
Himself in connection with the offspring of Shem, that in this family, “the Name” should be made known. Centuries later the Lord said: “I am the God of Abraham, the
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” He also called Himself “their God,” and said to the offspring of Shem: “You only have I known of all
the families of the earth” (Amos 3: 2), having chosen the seed of Abraham, a son of Shem, to
be His peculiar people. All divine
revelation is Semitic.
became the progenitor of the great Gentile nations. Japheth means “extended,
enlarged.” “Let God enlarge Japheth, and
let him dwell in the tents of Shem and Canaan
be his servant.” How true this is has been confirmed by past
and present history. The development of
government, art, science and philosophy is found among the sons of Japheth, the
Grecians, Romans, and the great Aryan races.
They are the domineering nations controlling the affairs of every
continent. The list of nations given in Genesis, chapter 10, the offspring of Japheth, has
been pronounced by leading ethnologists as absolutely correct. “By these [Page 24] were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands;
everyone after his tongue, in their families, in their nations” (Gen. 10: 5).
most interesting is the utterance of Noah that the descendants of Japheth “shall dwell in the tents of
Shem.” Through Shem Japheth is to receive and share
the promised blessing. The Gentile
nations were without God, without Christ and without hope in the world (Ephes. 2: 10).
After the Name which is above every other name had been revealed among
the Jews - when He, who is the son of David and the son of Abraham, as
concerning the flesh, had come to His own and His own received Him not, then
the salvation which is of the Jews (John 4: 22)
passed on to the great Gentile world. In
this way Japheth dwells in the tents of Shem.
But it has a still wider meaning.
As we shall show
later, prophecy shows the glorious
prospect of an earthly kingdom of righteousness and peace. Shem’s
family, Israel, will receive that kingdom and Jerusalem will be its glorious capital. The Japhetic races will be gathered into that
kingdom, for it is written of that
coming day. “And
the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising”
(Isa. 60: 3).
had spoken his curse and his blessing.
Probably he did not know that he had been the mouthpiece of
Jehovah. What followed we mention
briefly. The sons of Noah, their sons
and offspring kept together for some time.
They had one language. This is
verified by comparative philology. They
journeyed from the East. The East is in Scripture the Sunrise, as it is in nature. They turned their backs to the sunrise in
another sense. They turned away from God.
God is not mentioned in the beginning of the chapter in which man’s
failure and rebellion is recorded (Gen. 11). They said one to another, “Go to, let us
make brick” – “Go to, let us build us
a city and a tower” – “Let us make us
name.” Nimrod, the mighty hunter, though his name is
not mentioned, must have been the leader, for in Shinar
he began his kingdom
of Babel. His ambition was the creation of a world
empire in defiance of God. God had given
a definite [Page 25] command to be fruitful and replenish the earth (Gen. 9: 1).
The building of the city and the tower was an attempt to frustrate God’s
purpose. They did not want to be
scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Gen.
11: 4). Self-exaltation, defiance
of God and rebellion against God, are the essentials of this first great
apostasy after the deluge. But this
God-defying and man-deifying confederacy brought another judgment from
above. The Godhead spoke, answering
their “Let us make us a name” with “Go, let us go down, and there confound their language that
they may not understand one another’s speech.” The confusion of tongues followed. They were scattered abroad. What they tried to escape came upon
them. Babel became confusion.
again, is an event in early history which is prophetic. Babylon later
comes into prominence and when we turn to the prophetic history given in the
last book of the Bible we find another Babylon,
another great leader, as Nimrod was, another
confederacy - God-defying and man-deifying.
That final confederacy of rebellion against God and
against His Christ is described in the beginning of the second Psalm.
as it was over thousands of years ago so it will again be, “Let us go down.” The descent of the Lord Jesus Christ will come to deal in judgment with
an apostate and rebellious world.
shall now take up in detail the prospects of the world according to God’s own
THE PROSPECTS OF ISRAEL
The Promises Made to Abraham - Jacob’s Prophecy –
The Song of Moses
the second half of the eleventh chapter of Genesis we find the generations of
Shem. Ten are given. We note the shortening years of human
life. The time had now come in which the
promised blessing to Shem was to be bestowed upon one of his descendants. In sovereign grace the Lord called Abram, the
son of Terah.
The wandering offspring of Noah’s sons builded
cities and founded different kingdoms.
New civilization began to come into existence. But what were their moral and religious
possession of the writer is a Babylonian cone covered with inscriptions in the
cuneiform language used at that remote time.
It was found in the debris of Ur in Chaldea. The late Professor Clay of Yale University, an
outstanding scholar, furnished a translation according to which the cone was
made when Libit-Ishtar
was king, at the time when Abram was a youth.
The cone was used as a votive object in an idol temple of Ur. It is an interesting confirmation of the fact
stated in the Bible that the offspring of Shem had departed entirely from God
whom Shem worshipped and that they became idolators. The statement confirmed by the Babylonian
cone is found in Joshua 24:
9.- “Thus saith
the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in
old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham and the
father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” Out of these
surroundings and conditions God called the son of Terah. The God of glory appeared unto Abraham (Acts 7: 2). “Now
the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will shew thee”
(Gen. 12: 1). He was
obedient to this call to separation.
While the other nations continued their wanderings further and further
away from God, Abraham, the chosen one, received the revelations from God in a
progressive way. Linked with Abraham’s
call and his response are certain promises, [Page 30] which have a decidedly prophetic character. These promises are unconditional, hence they
are of grace. “And I will make thee a great
nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a
blessing. And I will bless them that
bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in
thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12: 34). History answers as to the literal fulfilment
of these prophetic promises. The man of
faith became one of the outstanding persons of history, the father of the
nation Israel - venerated by his seed at all times, who call him “Abraham, our father”; venerated by Christians because he is the father of
all them that believe; venerated also by the followers of Mohammed. The promised blessing can be traced century
after century, even during the present age in which “blindness in part has
happened to Israel.” History bears
witness as to the blessing coming upon those who blessed Abraham and his seed,
and how the curse has rested upon nations which cursed Israel. In him and in his seed all
the families of the earth are blessed and will be blessed. A certain theory, which claims that the
Anglo-Saxons are the ten tribes of Israel (so-called British-Israel) teaches that it is through the English
speaking races that this blessing is realized.
We shall have more to say later about this invention. The blessing promised through Abraham to all
the families of the earth has come through Him who is the
promised seed, according to the flesh “the Son of Abraham.”
He who said “before Abraham was I am.”
There is yet a future blessing in store for all the families of
the earth, when Israel receives the fullest glory in the [millennial] kingdom [of their Messiah]
and all the nations of the earth will share in Israel’s blessing and glory.
prophetic promises given to Abraham expand; they are progressive. They concern the seed and the land.
After Abraham arrived in the land, the Lord told him “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (Gen. 12: 7). After his
separation from selfish Lot, his nephew, the
prophetic promise becomes enlarged. The
friend of God is commanded to [Page 31] view the land, northward, southward, eastward and westward with the
assurance “all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy
(Gen. 13: 14-18). A still greater promise was given as to the
future of Abraham’s seed when the Lord made a covenant with him. “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the River
Euphrates” (Gen.15: 18).
[* NOTE. The word “forever,” in this context, should be understood to
as long as Abraham’s God-promised inheritance upon this earth will last. For “He [God] gave him [Abraham] none
inheritance in it” - [i.e.,
the land of promise] - “no, not so much as to set his
foot on: and he [God] promised that He would give it to him in possession,
and to his seed after him…” (Acts
7: 5, R.V.). Hence, “forever” should be understood to mean until the end
of the Messianic kingdom - that is, after the time of Abraham’s
resurrection, and therefore after the God’s promises to Abraham are literally
fulfilled. It cannot be extended beyond
that time or be inclusive of God’s new creation - “a new
heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first
earth are passed away,” (Rev. 21: 1). See also 2 Pet.
seed promised prophetically is twofold, like the dust of the earth, an earthly
seed, and like the stars of heaven, a heavenly seed.
must not pass by a remarkable prospect revealed to Abraham in a vision. “And when the sun went down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram;
and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him, And He said unto Abram,
Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in the land that is not
theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
and also that nation. whom they shall serve will I
judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Gen. 15: 12-14). Six future facts were revealed
as to his seed. First, his seed was to be as strangers in a land not theirs. Second, in that land they were to serve.
affliction was to continue four hundred years.
Fourth, God would
judge the nation which his seed would serve.
Fifth, they were to
come out of that land with great substances.
Sixth, Abram’s seed
would return to their own land in the fourth generation (Verse 16). This
prophetic vision found its literal fulfilment when Israel
sojourned in Egypt,
where they suffered affliction. The
first chapters of Exodus show the literal and complete fulfilment.
we have to examine two prophecies which give a forecast of the entire history
revealing the past, the present and the future of the chosen people. The first one is:
is found in the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis.
Jacob is upon his dying bed. He
summons his twelve sons – “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that [Page 32] which shall befall you in the last days.” He is going to speak as a prophet. His utterances are most remarkable, both in
forecast and in fulfilment, so that the destructive critical school, which
denies the unity of Genesis and invented a composite authorship, has branded
the whole a forgery, a later addition written by some unknown person many
centuries after. We are not concerned
with the striking historical fulfilment, but the prophetic forecast occupies
our attention. The twelve sons of Jacob
are the progenitors of the twelve tribes, and the [Holy] Spirit of God revealed to their dying father Jacob
what their future was to be. Here then
are the prospects of the twelve tribes beginning with Old Testament times, the
character manifested by them through the New Testament times, down to the last
days when their fullest blessing is to be realized. There is a significant grouping
of these sons which occasionally disregards the order of their birth to bring
out this prophetic history.
Simeon and Levi are taken together by
Jacob. What he says concerning them
presents a record of evil, defilement and treachery. He speaks of Reuben “Unstable as water;” Simeon and Levi are instruments of cruelty. He curses their fierce anger and their cruel
wrath. These three
present a picture of unrighteousness and defiance of God and His law. It is the character of Israel as a
nation during the age before their promised Messiah came. They were unstable as water, unfaithful,
cruel and wicked. Hence the dying father
prays “O my Soul,
come not thou in their secret; unto their assembly mine honour, be not thou
united.” He also sees the tragedy which would happen
many centuries later. “I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel.”
is a prophecy of the division of Israel, when the ten tribes
revolted, and the nation formed two hostile kingdoms and their subsequent
the next place Jacob speaks only of Judah. This tribe is put by
itself. Judah means praise; the tribe is represented by the lion. In speaking of Judah he utters a great prophecy. “The sceptre shall
not depart from Judah nor a
33] from between his
feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall
the gathering of the people be.” This is a Messianic prophecy. Shiloh
is one of the names of Christ. So
the Christ is prominent in the prospects of Judah. “Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s
children shall bow down before thee.”
It reveals Christ’s dominion and
His victory. The
lion points to Him who is “The Lion of the tribe of Judah who hath
prevailed” (Rev. 5: 5). The tribe of Judah is to remain while the ten tribes are
scattered, remain till Shiloh comes. And much more points us to Christ. For instance, “He washed his garments in wine,
and his clothes in the blood of the grapes” (See Isa. 63: 1-6). Here then is the evidence that Judah covers
the time of the nation’s history when Christ appeared.
and Issachar come
next. They are not mentioned in the
order of their birth. He passeth from his fourth son to the
tenth. And what do we read of
shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and
his border shall be unto Zidon.” No question as to the meaning of this; it
indicates commerce. Zebulun was to be a
commercial, a seafaring tribe. Zidon is in Phoenicia,
the land which boasted of a world commerce; they
traded with the ancient world known in their days. Issachar is linked with Zebulun. “Issachar is a strong ass
couching down between two burdens. And
he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his
shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.” Here we have
hints, though faint, of what the nation should become after the rejection of
their long promised and expected Messiah.
The dispersed Jews became merchants, carrying on commerce in every
nation, and are found in every harbour.
Drudgery is connected with Issachar.
They became the drudges of the Gentiles.
They served for gain and ease and became servants for tribute.
third tribe mentioned is Dan. It is a mysterious saying
– “Dan shall
judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder
in the path, that biteth the horse’s heels, so that his rider shall fall [Page
34] backward.” In Zebulun and Issachar we see Israel’s
lowest degradation among the Gentiles.
The mention of Dan is interesting and significant. Judging is connected with Dan as one of the
tribes of Israel. It points to the time when the Jews are
restored in unbelief to their land and institute a self-government. But it will be at that time when Jacob’s
trouble begins, the time of great tribulation.
Apostasy and idolatry began with the tribe of Dan, and Dan may well
stand for the mass of unbelieving Jews who welcome during the end of the
present age the final Antichrist, who assumes the roll as their King Messiah.
The words, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way,”
indicate this. It has been the belief of
some of the oldest interpreters of the Word of God that the Antichrist, the
lawless one, the wilful king of Daniel 11: 36
will arise from the tribe of Dan; many modern exponents of prophecy have
endorsed this view. Nor must we forget
that in Revelation, Chapter
Seven, where the literal Israel
is in view, twelve thousand out of each tribe are sealed, but the tribe of Dan
is omitted. These sealed ones represent
the godly, the witnessing remnant of Israel during the time of the great
tribulation, but those of Dan are not included, because Dan is linked with the
false Messiah. Jacob’s sudden prayer
utterance after Dan’s character is revealed takes on a deep significance. “I have waited for Thy salvation, Jehovah.” As with
prophetic vision the dying patriarch saw this prospect of the final
trouble, through the serpent’s power, in store for his seed, he longed for that
salvation which he knew would ultimately come, for Jehovah has promised it. And such will be the longing prayer of the
godly remnant of Israel
during those dark days before the great deliverer comes.
godly remnant is represented by Gad, Asher and Naphtali. Here
we see a great change. No longer
apostasy, defilement, idolatry and wickedness; no longer traffickers and burden
bearers, but here is a victorious note. “Gad, a troop shall overcome
and he shall overcome at the last.” It is a prediction of the final conflict and
victory over the foe. The faithful
remnant will be victorious over the false Messiah, the man of sin.
“Asher - his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal
dainties.” Asher means happiness. In the midst of all the final troubles the
remnant will be happy in trusting the Lord and have the abundance in fat bread
and royal dainties “Naphtali is a hind let loose; he giveth pleasant words.” The hind and
the hind’s feet are in Scripture symbolical of escape. (See Hab. 3: 19.) The remnant will have a swift and marvellous
escape; enduring to the end they will be saved (Matt.
24: 13). Then will be heard the pleasant words, the words which are
pre-written in the Psalms, the words of praise and joy. Thus we see in Gad, Asher and Naphtali
victory after defeat, happiness in the face of the fiercest persecutions, and a
wonderful deliverance followed by songs of praise.
two sons of Rachel Joseph and Benjamin conclude the prophecy of Jacob. Both, as it is well known, are prophetic types
of Christ our Saviour-Lord. How full and
rich is the story of Joseph! In Jacob’s
words there is a reminder of the sin of Joseph’s brethren who sold and
delivered him into the hands of the Gentiles.
archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him, but his bow
abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made firm by the hands of the
Mighty One of Jacob - from thence is the
Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.” Then there is pronounced a blessing “unto the utmost bounds of the
everlasting hills.” “They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the
head of him who was separated from his brethren.” The fullest blessing is upon Him, who is greater than Joseph. He will wear the crown of undisputed
authority. As Joseph was revealed as the
Saviour of his brethren who had hated him, when they came the second time to him, so will the rejected One, the Lord
Jesus Christ, be their Saviour in His second Coming. “And at the second time Joseph was made known to his
brethren” (Acts 7: 13). Benjamin is equally a prophetic type of
Christ. The dying eye of Rachel looked
upon him in the hour of his birth and called him “Ben-oni” - the son of suffering. But Jacob changed his name to “Benjamin,” which means, [Page
36] “the son of the right hand.” It reminds us of the one hundred and tenth
Psalm where Christ is seen at the right hand of God till His enemies are made
the footstool of His feet. Brief is
Jacob’s prophecy of Benjamin. “Benjamin shall tear as
a wolf; in the morning devour the prey, and at even divide the spoil.” The
prophecy concerns the judgment aspect of the coming Lord and Christ. The
fuller aspect is the blessing as revealed in his words about Joseph; both
blessing and judgment will come with the return of Christ.
Jacob’s Prophecy concerning his twelve sons we have this remarkable forecast of
History. (1) Israel’s character during the Old
Testament, represented by Reuben, Simeon and Levi. (2) Israel
at the time when Christ came, the Shiloh as announced in connection with Judah. (3) Israel after Christ has come and
was rejected by His own, represented by Zebulun, Issachar and Dan, the time of
their dispersion ending in the days of Antichrist. (4) The godly and victorious remnant seen in
Gad, Asher and Naphtali and (5) the coming Deliverer crowned with blessing and
glory, but judge as well, under whose feet all will be put - Joseph and
Benjamin. Here then is Israel’s past,
present and future history in a nutshell.
turn next to another great key-prophecy which reveals the prospects of Israel. It came likewise from the lips of an old man,
about to die. Moses the great
illustrious leader of Israel,
one hundred and twenty years of age, before he went to the top of the mountain,
to die, as the Rabbis say, under the kiss of Jehovah, sang his last song. The song of Moses is prophetic.
THE PROPHETIC SONG OF MOSES
great utterance, recorded in the thirty-second chapter of the fifth book of the
Pentateuch is marvellous. It did not
come from the mind of Moses, but was the work of the [Holy] Spirit of God.
This song is an expansion of Jacob’s Prophecy and concerns all the
descendants of Abraham, the twelve tribes of Israel. That it is prophetic may be learned [Page
37] from the call which Moses proclaimed. “Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your
officers, that I may speak these words into your ears, and call heaven and
earth to record against them. For I know
that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the
way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days;
because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger
through the work of your hands” (Deut. 31:
28, 29). The song then covers all Israel’s
history and reveals what shall befall them in future. days.
1. We give a brief synopsis. In
the foreground stands the praise of Jehovah.
He proclaims Jehovah’s Name, His greatness, His
faithfulness, that He is a just God. He
speaks of Him as the Rock whose work is perfect. Jehovah the Rock is the Son of
God, the Rock of Ages (Verses 1-4).
2. Then, before he speaks of Jehovah’s gracious dealings with Israel,
he mentions the nation’s foolishness, that they are a perverse and crooked
generation, as so often before their stiff-neckedness and disobedience had been
uncovered by their great leader.
Questions are asked to stir up their conscience. Do ye thus requite Jehovah? Is He not Thy
Father who hath purchased you? Hath He
not made thee and established thee? (Verses
3. This is followed by a beautiful description of Israel’s calling and what Jehovah
in infinite love and mercy had done for them.
They were the portion of Jehovah and Jacob, the lot of His
inheritance. He had given them a place
of supremacy over the other nations, and divided the boundaries of the Gentiles
according to the number of the children of Israel. And how did He deal with them? He found them in a desert land. He watched over them; He compassed them
about; He kept them as the apple of His eye.
He had sheltered and nestled them, borne them up and carried them in His
feathers. He alone did this, as the
expression of His lovingkindness and His loving care.
4. But what follows? Here comes in
prophecy a description of their future apostasy, their departure from the
Lord. Here Israel is called “Jeshurun,” a loving diminutive derived [Page
38] from “Jasher,” which, means
He had loved His beloved Jeshurun.
Prosperity came upon them, they had prospered in all things, the earthly
blessings, the lot of an earthly people, had been showered upon them. Instead of clinging closer to the Lord, they
forsook God and lightly esteemed the Rock of His salvation. “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast
forgotten God that formed thee.” From the worship of the one God they turned
to idols and sacrificed unto demons.
Here are the prospects of Israel, the prospects of apostasy
during Old Testament times and the culmination of it in the rejection of the “Rock of His Salvation,” when He appeared among them. How it all came true needs no further mention
5. This is followed by the forecast of God’s dealing with them on account
of their unbelief and apostasy. His anger
burns against them in righteous indignation and wrath. He hides His face from them and heaps evils
upon them. They shall be wasted with
hunger and devoured with burning heat and with bitter destruction. Without the sword and within the terror. They were to he scattered into the corners of
the earth. But He indicates that no full
end of them is to be made, as later the prophet declared in Jehovah’s name: “Though I make a full end of
all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of
thee” (Jer. 30: 11). And why? Lest their adversaries, the nations used in
chastisement of Israel
(anti-semites) should say, “Our own high hand, and not
Jehovah, hath done all this.” Here is the prospect given of their
afflictions and sufferings in their sorrowful history covering several thousand
years. Yet He has not given up His
chosen people. He yearns over them. He deplores their miserable condition. His heart of sympathy is longing
for the day when He can be gracious unto them. “Oh,
that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their
latter end” (Verses 19-33).
6. Finally, at the end of their
long history of sorrow and tears there comes “the day of their calamity.” What else [Page
39] is this than the “time of Jacob’s trouble”
(Jer. 30: 7). It
is the day of trouble seen by Daniel, the prophet and confirmed by our Lord (Matt. 24: 21).
But what will happen in that day of their calamity? Daniel tells us that “Michael the prince will stand
up for His people” (Dan. 12. 1).
There win be intervention from above.
And in Moses’ song we read: “He will repent Himself for his servants, when He seeth their
power gone, and there is none shut up or left.” Then He calls
them back to Himself. He will deal with
their enemies. The rod which He used for
their chastisements will be broken. “I will render vengeance to
mine adversaries, and I will reward them that hate Me. I will make drunk with blood my arrows and My sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain and
the captives, from the hairy head of the enemy.” Here is the
forecast of the judgment of the nations which will be executed when the King of
Israel, our Lord, appears. The hairy
head (the correct translation) no doubt is the man of sin (Verses 34-42).
7. Then comes
a great Finale of this prophetic symphony.
“Rejoice ye nations with His people, for
He avengeth the blood of His servants and rendereth
vengeance to His adversaries and will be
merciful unto His land, and to His
people” (Verse 43). It brings to view the great consummation when Israel’s
prospects in a kingdom of glory will be realized and all the nations of the
earth will rejoice with His redeemed Israel, the time of earth’s
jubilee, the time of “Peace on earth and glory to God in the highest.”
promises made to Abraham and to his seed, briefly mentioned in this chapter,
outline the prospects of Israel,
which have never yet been realized. But inasmuch as “God’s gifts and calling are
without repentance” (Rom. 11: 31), the day will come when every one
of these promises will be literally fulfilled. In Jacob’s prophecy and in the prophetic song
of Moses we find the embryonic history of Israel. Both tell beforehand the apostasy, their
departure from God, the judgment which is to fall upon them on account of it.
We have also learned that their judgments and the sufferings connected with it
are not permanent. There will come a
40] of blessing, of victory and
glory. But before we take up the bright prospects of
Israel and through them the blessing which will come to all the world, we must
examine more fully the predictions as to their past and present condition, we
must see how God’s threatenings literally passed into history and also what
will happen to Israel before the day of consummation and glory breaks.
Predictions of Judgment and Dispersion.
Before Moses had intoned his great prophetic
song, which all Israel had
to commit to memory (Deut. 31:19), the Lord announced through him Israel’s
coming apostasy. “This people will rise up, and
go awhoring after other gods of the strangers of the
land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me,
and break My covenant, which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be kindled against them
in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and
they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that
they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is
not among us?” (Deut. 31:
the many evils and troubles would be had already been spoken by Moses in one of
the most remarkable forecasts of the Bible.
26) is pronounced the blessing which would follow their obedience in
keeping the commandments of the Lord. After that are recorded the threatenings from a holy and righteous
God, their God, if they act in disobedience and break the covenant (Verses 16-39). The chastisements include almost every
conceivable disaster. Physical decline,
terrors, consumption, burning ague, defeat by their enemies, a barren land,
wild beasts to destroy their children and cattle, famine, pestilences,
cannibalism, and waste cities are some of the predicted calamities. Their dispersion among all the nations is one
of the forecasts of judgment. “And I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out a
sword after you, and your land shall be desolate and your cities waste”
(Verse 33). Still more remarkable are the
predictions of Deuteronomy (Chapter 28). It is one of the most solemn portions of the
Pentateuch. Orthodox Hebrews cover in
their yearly synagogical readings the entire Pentateuch. It is said that the Rabbi still reads [Page
42] this chapter publicly in a hushed
voice. And well may they read it thus
for here are the predictions of the sorrowful history of their own people. In this chapter thousands of years ago the
Spirit of God outlined the history of blood and tears of the scattered nation,
all their sufferings and tribulations.
Since then many centuries have come and gone and brought a startling
fulfilment of all these predictions. The
prospects of divine displeasure and judgment have all come true. It is an enlargement of the forecast of the
above quoted chapter of Leviticus. We
could fill many pages with quoting these prospects and give their verifications
history. But this is not necessary; a
few will suffice.
“And thou shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee”
(Verse 37). They have been ostracized,
ridiculed and sneered at by the different nations, and so it is still. The word translated “byword”
in the Hebrew is the word “Sheninah.” It
means “a sharp saying.” We do not know the derivation of the slang
word used among Gentiles in speaking of a Hebrew, the word - Sheeny. Nor
do we know how this word originated.
But it is suggestive that they shall be “sheninah” among the nations, and the Gentiles
call them by a word which probably is derived from this Hebrew word. In this chapter we find some most interesting
prophecies as to their dreadful future.
It was Rome which was finally used in
bringing upon the nation and Israel’s
land the greatest calamity. The Roman
power is predicted by Moses and that at a time when Rome did not exist. “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the
end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth, a nation, whose language thou shalt not understand”
(Verses 49, 50). The eagle was
the standard of the Roman armies; the Jews understood oriental languages and
also Greek, but never took to Latin. “Which shall
not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young.”
was a Roman practice to kill old people and young children. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and
fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst [Page 43] throughout all thy land”
fulfiled by the Roman armies. “The tender and delicate woman among you, which
would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for
delicateness and tenderness, shall eat her children, for want of all things in
the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates”
this was fulfilled in the terrible sieges of Jerusalem, but most of all in the tragedy of
the year 70 A. D.
a Gentile but a Jewish historian gives us the striking fulfilment of this
prediction. Josephus was living in the days of the great calamity when the
Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem
and the event which our Lord had announced forty years before came to pass (Luke 19: 43, 44).
Flavius Josephus in his
famous “Antiquities of the Jews,” a
history of the Jewish wars, in Book VI, Chapter 3, relates the case of a noble
and delicate woman who was hard pressed during the Roman siege and finally
roasted her own child. But this is only
one case of a large number. It was a
literal fulfilment of the quoted prophecy given 1500 years before.
the siege continued and the famine increased horrors upon horrors came. Josephus
gives a full description of what was one of the greatest tragedies in the
world’s history. But this was not the
only fulfilment of the curse of cannibalism.
It happened before the Roman siege as we learn from 2 Kings 6: 26-29 and Lamentations
2: 20. Again we read in this
great prophetic chapter: “And Jehovah will bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way
whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no wore again; and there ye shall
sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall
buy you” (Verse 68). When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, all who did not
perish (according to Josephus 1,100,000 lives were swept away) were sent to the
mines in Egypt,
where the slaves were constantly kept at work without being permitted to rest
or sleep till they succumbed. The whip
fell once more upon them and they suffered the most awful terrors. Others were sold as slaves. According to the [Page 44] History written by Josephus, about 100,000 suffered
this fate, so that the slave market was glutted and the word fulfilled, “No man shall buy you”.
world wide dispersion is also predicted in this chapter. “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the
one end of the earth unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods,
which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no
ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot, but Jehovah will
give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of
soul. And thy life shall hand in doubt
before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have no assurance of
thy life” (Verses 64-67). When Balaam looked upon the camp of Israel
he uttered a great prophecy which is still true and will always be true: “Lo, the people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned
among the nations” (Num. 23: 9). God separated
the seed of Abraham, formed them into a nation, and gave them a land to dwell
in. And this peculiar people, living in
one of the smallest countries on the face of the earth, has been scattered all
over the world, has become a wanderer, without a home, without a land, though
there is now a national awakening and a partial restoration. They are still a nation. Their national characteristics persist. Other nations have passed away; this nation
has been preserved. They are found among
all the nations, yet not reckoned among the nations. Like Jonah in the belly of the fish,
undigested, so Israel
has found a grave among all the nations, yet they have not been able to digest
them. In spite of all these curses and
calamities, their world-wide dispersion, we read: “And yet for all that, when
they be in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I
abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and break My covenant with them, for I am
Jehovah their God” (Lev. 26: 44). In numerous other passages their
miraculous preservation is predicted.
Then, as revealed, the God-given homeland of Israel, the land which once flowed
with milk and honey, has become barren and desolate. Jerusalem, the
city of David, [Page
45] is being trodden down by the
Gentiles and it will continue to he so “till the times of the Gentiles are
fulfilled.” In Jeremiah
(22: 7-9) we read: “I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not
inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his
weapons; and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the
fire. And many nations shall pass by
this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore
has the Lord done thus unto this great city?
Then they shall answer, Because they have
forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods and
forbids to give the fulfilment of all these
predictions during the present age, which began with the rejection of the
Messiah, David’s Lord and David’s son, our Lord. He Himself had wept in loud lamentation over Jerusalem. He saw all what would come upon His beloved
city. When He was led away to be
crucified, a great company of people and of women, bewailing and lamenting Him,
followed. What words He spoke to them! “Daughters of Jerusalem,
weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your
children? For, behold, the days are
coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the
barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps,
which never gave suck. Then shall they
begin to say to the mountains, fall on us and to the hills, cover
us. For if they do these things to a
green tree, what shall he done to the dry?” (Luke 23: 28-31). In
His final discourse as recorded by Luke He announced the fate of the Jews after
the destruction of Jerusalem. His prediction covers the entire age. “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be
led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem
shall be trodden down, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21: 24). In this great dispersion, the fulfilment of
the words spoken by Moses over three thousand years ago, and re-stated by our
Lord, they suffered all the horrors and terrors which we have mentioned before. Hundreds of thousands were slain in the beginning
of the age, but often their punishment was well deserved. We quote from “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Gibbon:
“From the reign of Nero to that of Antonius
Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly
broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the
horrid cruelties which the Jews committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus and
Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship
with the unsuspecting natives and we are tempted to applaud the severe
retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of
fanatics whose desire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the
implacable enemies not only of the Roman Government, but of human kind.”
the footnote Gibbon, quoting Dion Cusius,
shows that in Cyrene the Jews killed in a most horrible
fashion 220,000 Greeks; in Cyprus
240,000; in Egypt
a very great multitude. Many of these
victims were sawn asunder, according to a precedent to which David had given
sanction by his example. The same source
shows that on account of these horrible outrages committed by the Jews during
Hadrian’s wars 580,000 Jews were cut off by the sword, besides an infinite
number which perished by famine, by disease and by fire. (Gibbon Volume II,
fires of persecution burned fiercely in almost every century. During the middle ages they were falsely
accused of having poisoned wells and thus producing the “Black Death” by which
over twenty-five million people perished.
Then the Jews were burned by the thousands. All kinds of lying accusations were brought
against them followed by terrible persecutions and sufferings. One of the accusations was the so-called “blood accusation,” wholly unfounded, a pernicious
invention of superstitious, if not vicious, persons. This accusation, that Jews killed “children of Christians” to use their blood in some of
their rituals has survived even to recent times.
severe was their fate in Spain. We quote again from Gibbon’s work:
“That exiled nation had founded some synagogues in Gaul; but Spain since the days of Hadrian was filled
with their colonies. They pretended they
were introduced into Spain
by the fleets of Solomon and the arms of Nebuchadnezzar. The wealth which they accumulated by trade
47] the management of
finances invited the avarice of their masters.
a Gothic king, who reigned in the beginning of the VII Century
proceeded at once to the last extremes of persecution. Ninety thousand Jews were forced to accept
baptism the fortunes of the obstinate ones were confiscated; their bodies
cruelly tortured. But they - the secret
professed enemies of Christianity - still multiplied in servitude and distress
and their intrigues promoted the rapid success of the Arabian conquerors.” (Gibbon Volume IV, age 341)
still greater persecutions broke out against them in Spain. They were driven out by the thousands, their
children were taken away and all their goods confiscated. The Inquisition acted against them and
thousands upon thousands were tortured and burned alive. But Spain experienced the truth of the
ancient promise made to Abraham: “I will curse them that curse thee.”
For many centuries it was literally true – “among these nations shalt
thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest.” They were
driven from nation to nation. In Italy, France,
Germany, Austria, Poland and other countries they
suffered the same persecutions. The 19th
Century was one of anti-semitism; everywhere was heard the cry “Down with the Jew.”
Especially terrible were their persecutions and sufferings in Russia
where tens of thousands were massacred under the regime of the Czar. The Russian Revolution, besides the slaughter
of hundreds of thousands of Christians, also brought great suffering upon
orthodox Jews. The vicious Sovietism aims at the
destruction of all religious beliefs. Such Jewish apostates as Trotzky
(Bronstein), Zionieff (Apfelbaum);
Ltvinoff (Finkelstein) hate true Judaism as much as
they hate Christianity. In our own times the darkest clouds are
gathering. Anti-Semitism is stronger
than ever. What it means our next
chapter will show.
Yet here is the miracle. Nation after nation
succumbed to far less persecution and suffering and passed away. This
nation never passes away. Moses saw the
bush burning with fire and while the fire raged, the bush remained [Page
48] unconsumed. It is God’s standing miracle of His power of
preservation. True it is, the threatenings of Jehovah, His judgments, have literally
come true. But at the same time by their
miraculous preservation, by their increase in earthly blessings and
possessions, by giving them the foremost place in commerce, in literature and
science, God bears witness to the fact which Gentile Christendom has almost
entirely forgotten, that Israel are still His people, beloved for the Father’s
sake. In 1833 a careful census showed
three million Jews living in the world.
After a century of Anti-semitism in 1933 another careful census shows
fifteen millions. An astonishing
increase of five hundred per cent! And why this miracle of preservation? More than to prove God’s
faithfulness and power. The seed of Abraham has the prospects of a glorious future, a glory
which also concerns the whole earth.
For this great purpose He has kept Israel. But before we turn to the
great prophecies announcing that day of coming glory, we must examine the
darkest hour which is yet to come for the everlasting nation. It will give us their immediate
prospects. How truly Milman in his excellent “History of the Jews” has said: “Massacred by the thousands, but springing up again from
their undying stock, the Jews appear at all times and in all regions. Their perpetuity, their national immortality,
is at once the most curious problem to the political inquirer; to the religious
man a subject of profound and awful admiration.” A great philosopher called them “the enigma of history.” They are more than that. They are the greatest witnesses that the
Bible is the supernatural revelation of God.
The Prospects of The
Great Tribulation - The Indications of its Nearness – The Two Classes - The
Godly Remnant and
its Future Work
predicted in his great prophecy that there would come the day of “their calamity,” when their power is gone and when God
would rise up in behalf of His people (Deut. 32:
35-42). Israel has had many days of
calamity, but the day of their greatest calamity lies in the immediate
future. Before the long promised morning
comes with its blessings, the seed of Abraham, the sons of Jacob, will pass
through a horrible night experience. This final calamity was prophetically
announced by Jeremiah in that portion of his Prophecy which is filled with the
promises of future blessing in store for Israel. The prophet speaks there of what will precede
“And these are the words that the Lord spake
and Judah. 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 Jacob’s trouble, but
he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30: 4-7). Here is the
prediction of the travail pains through which all Israel will pass before the new
birth of the nation takes place. The day
of Jacob’s trouble is Moses’ day of calamity.
But we must turn to Daniel’s Prophecy to hear more of that day.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince
which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall he 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” (Dan. 12: 1). No need to
emphasize that it concerns Daniel’s people and not, what a misguided exegesis [Page
50] has read into it, the
church. Not a few expositors of the
liberal school which put the date of
Daniel into the second century before Christ, have explained this time of
trouble as having passed already into history during the invasion of Antiochus Epiphanes. The context makes such an
exposition impossible. “Many of them that sleep in
the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame
and everlasting contempt.” This certainly did not happen during the invasion of
Antiochus. It is an open question
whether this means a physical resurrection, or the resurrection of the nation
itself out of the dust, out of their national graves. But certainly whichever way we take it, it
did not happen in the past, nor did the wise among Israel then: “Shine as the brightness of
the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever
and ever.” Therefore this great time of trouble in store
for Daniel’s people has not yet been.
the confirming evidence of the futurity of this day of calamity, the time of
Jacob’s trouble and Daniel’s time of great trouble is furnished by our Lord
Himself. In His prophetic Olivet
Discourse He speaks of it. Much misunderstood is the first part of this great
prophecy. It has been applied to the
Church, when it has no reference to the Church at all, but concerns the ending
of the Jewish age. He pictures events
which will happen among the Jews, restored in unbelief to their own land,
telling what will overtake them. He
announces the climax of those evil days.
shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to
this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:
21). Here again the expositor misleads us when he
claims that the time of great tribulation of which our Lord speaks was the
siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. But
was it? The context shows the
impossibility of a past fulfilment. For
in verses 29-31 our Lord says that
immediately after the tribulations of those days He Himself will return in
person, in power an great glory. Therefore Moses’ “day of their calamity,” Jeremiah’s “day of Jacob’s trouble,” Daniel’s “time of trouble,” and our Lord’s prediction of the
ending [Page 51] of the
age in “the great tribulation” is still a coming
event. The same time of great
tribulation is also made known in the last book of the Bible. The Sun-clad woman with the crown of twelve
stars is Israel
(Chapter 12). Satan is the instigator of the great
tribulation, but the woman’s seed, the remnant of Israel, will he miraculously
time of great tribulation will not be confined to Israel. It will be world-wide and affect all the nations, but the
storm centre will be Israel
why does God permit such a time of great trouble to come upon Israel especially? We answer this briefly. God permits this time
of great trouble on account of their apostasy.
While there is in Gentile Christendom an apostasy, as we show elsewhere
in this volume, there is also a Jewish apostasy. It is not a thing of yesterday, but began
many years ago. The so-called reformed
Judaism is really rationalism. It denies
and rejects the Messianic hope and sees a salvation for their people in
assimilation. Reformed Judaism denies
the supernatural and treats the Word of God just as the Gentile Modernist
does. But this is not the end of the
road. Atheism springs up; there is an out and out denial of God. Linked with it is radicalism expressed in
hatred of everything which is sacred to mankind, religion, family life,
patriotism and righteous government. As
we have unfolded this in “The Conflict of the
Ages,” and shown the relation of the apostates to the program of
lawlessness, so prominent in the world today, we do not enlarge upon it. As a result, these apostates with their
program of lawlessness and world-revolution become a curse among the Gentiles,
as predicted by Jeremiah (Jer. 29: 18, 44: 12).
Such rebellion against the laws of God and man is an abomination in the
sight of the Lord, and He will not tolerate it forever, but deal with it in
tribulation and judgment. It is this
apostasy which will bring upon them the “day of calamity”.
Zionism is another reason why this time of trouble will come
upon them. It is frequently stated in
Scripture that the land is God’s gift to His people Israel. The gift was made to Abraham and to his
seed. When they were about [Page
52] to occupy the land the Lord told
them a number of times that it is
His gift. It is the land which He had
sworn unto them. They were to understand
that it was not given on account of anything they had done. It is the land of
promise. Therefore the land was not to
be bought nor sold. It became a
wilderness and the needed former and latter rain was withheld. But there are many promises and prophecies
which give the prospects of a restoration of the land. It is to become fruitful again. They are to be brought back to the land,
re-gathered and restored. Several pages
could be filled with these bright prospects of the restoration of the
land. We quote but one. “Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord
your God; for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause
to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain” (Joel 2: 23). But all these restoration promises are conditioned
by the repentance of the people and by a whole-hearted return to the Lord. More than that, these national promises cannot come before the
manifestation of the King Messiah.
is a national revival, an attempted restoration. But it does not spring from faith in God and
from trusting in His Word. It is a
restoration in unbelief. There is no
repentance. As a movement it is a
delusion, a political scheme. Zionism
has changed the land and tries to bring back by irrigation and colonization its
former prosperity. It is an attempt to
bring about the former national greatness by their own
schemes and efforts. They will succeed
in these efforts. But in that coming day
of trouble, the tribulation, a great invasion of the land will come and bring
devastation and disaster. The prophet
speaks of it in the following words: “A fire devoureth before them (the Northern Army) and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of
Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, yea and nothing shall
escape them” (Joel 2: 3).
restoration in unbelief, Palestine
becoming rapidly occupied by hundreds of thousands of Jews, with no sign [Page
53] of repentance or return to the
Lord, is an indication that the day of calamity cannot be far away.
the restoration schemes include more than educational institutions, like the Jerusalem University. There is an effort on foot to erect another Temple, that
is a restoration of the ancient worship of Israel is being planned. It is said that young Levites are being
trained and receive instructions in the Levitical code. They will again bring their sacrifices. This is indicated in the last chapter of
Isaiah, which is staged in these coming days of Jacob’s trouble. The building of a house is here
mentioned. But what does Jehovah say
about the resumption of sacrifices? “He that killeth an ox is as
if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb; as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he
that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth
incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea,
they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their
abominations” (Isa. 66: 3). They reject the one great sacrifice, the
precious blood of the true Lamb of God, and the restored worship is an outrage
with God, the culmination of their unbelief, an abomination. And then the Lord says “I will choose their delusions
and will bring their fears upon them.” But something worse will
happen. One appears then on the scene
who claims to be their Messiah. It will
be the final Antichrist, the greatest counterfeit, the very incarnation of
Satan himself. He will demand worship
for himself and sit in the Temple
of God, claiming that he
is God (2. Thess. 2). These preparations going on today are the sure
indications of the nearing time of their great tribulation. The increasing
anti-semitism which is sweeping Europe and which is rising stronger than ever
before elsewhere, including the United
States, is another shadow of the fast
approaching day of their calamity.
THE TWO CLASSES
The seed of Abraham, his natural descendants, has
always been divided in two classes. The
Apostle Paul states this fact in the ninth chapter of Romans, “For they are not all [Page
54] Israel, which are of Israel” (Verse 6). And before he wrote in the same Epistle, “For he is not a Jew, which is
one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the
flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one
inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the
letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 3: 28, 29). This distinction is marked throughout their
entire history. In Old Testament times
were those who believed not; they turned from Jehovah, they worshipped idols
and Jehovah pronounced judgment against them.
On account of their unbelief they had no share and part in the promised
blessings. They did evil in the sight of
the Lord and He dealt with them in judgment.
But there was likewise a remnant which believed. They also suffered on account of the nation’s
departure from God. Yet tenaciously they
held on in faith and did not relinquish the Messianic hope. The Lord recognized them in a special manner. He promised to spare them and through His
prophets gave them words of hope and encouragement. We give two illustrations of this fact. In the ninth chapter of Ezekiel six men,
probably angels, are commissioned to execute a
judgment among the ungodly Israelites.
Among them is one with an inkhorm by his
side. “And the
Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of
Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry
for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Verse 4).
we have the information that in the apostate city there was a godly remnant,
which had no sympathy with the abominations which the ungodly portion of the
nation practised. Then Jehovah told the
six men to “slay utterly old and young, both maidens,
and little children, and women, but come not near any man, upon whom is the
mark, and begin at my sanctuary.”
So the godly remnant, marked, was spared.
second illustration we take from the last book of the Old Testament, the
Prophet Malachi. In what a dreadful, indifferent condition the
people were then! Yet in the [Page
55] midst of this indifferent crowd who had no heart for the Lord
was a godly company. “Then they that feared Jehovah
spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of
remembrance was written before Him for them that feared Jehovah, and that
thought upon His Name. And they shall be
mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will
spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal. 3). These illustrations could be multiplied,
demonstrating the fact, that “not all are Israel
who are of Israel,” that among them were the godly and the ungodly, the
believing and the unbelieving. And so it
is in our own times.
have already shown the apostasy which sweeps over Judaism and how the great
mass denies their own history of miracles in the past, and how many are
atheistic and fall in line with the forces of ungodliness and lawlessness. But there is another part of Israel. Though blindness is upon them,
yet they do not give up the Messianic hope and continue to trust in the
promises made unto their fathers.
They frequently deplore the prevailing conditions among their own
people. We have met several orthodox
Jews who mourned over their sons and daughters who had drifted away from the
faith and hope of their fathers, just as Christian parents lament over the
worldliness of their unsaved children.
Throughout this age the hope of orthodox, Bible-believing Jews, has never
died. It is alive today. Their faith in God, the God of Abraham, and
their natural promises, honours God, and it will be rewarded some day.
ultimately God’s purpose in the present age is accomplished, as we show later,
the [Holy] Spirit
of God will remove the veil from the hearts of these true Jews, who pray for
the coming of the Messiah and through Him expect their salvation and national
restoration. Their eyes are opened and
the truth is revealed to them. There will be called a remnant of His earthly
people for a great and specific work. We
shall see later what this work is going to be.
This remnant will play a most important part during the time of Jacob’s
trouble. They will suffer, but will be
saved out [Page 56] of
it. Their suffering will be on account
of their faith in God and in the Messiah.
Many will become martyrs, slain by the Beast. They will suffer among the different Gentile
nations and from their own brethren, the ungodly, who hate and despise
them. In the last chapter of Isaiah,
quoted above, we read of this hatred, which that future remnant will
experience. After Jehovah rebukes the
unbelief of the Jews who bring again bloody sacrifices, He addresses the
remnant. “Hear the word of Jehovah, ye that tremble at
His Word; Your brethren that hate you, that cast you out for my name’s sake,
said, Let the Lord be glorified; but He shall appear to your joy, and they
shall be ashamed” (Verse 5). Evidently the
remnant bears a witness to the coming of the King, the Lord of Heaven. The ungodly apostates scoff at it and say,
ridiculing the believing ones, “Let the Lord be glorified.” Then the
assurance is given that He shall appear bringing the joy of salvation to those
who have waited for Him and shame to the unbelievers.
the time of the great tribulation this godly part of Israel will be fully authorized to
pray the imprecatory prayers which the Spirit of God has pre-written in the
book of Psalms. The man of sin, the
false Messiah-king, will be their chief persecutor, for they refuse the mark of
the beast and to bow to his authority.
He will use the godless Gentiles and the godless Jews as the instruments
of persecution. That
remnant will then he used in bearing a great witness among the nations.
Lord predicted in His Olivet Discourse that “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall
the end come” (Matt. 24: 14). This is mostly
taken to be the preaching which is now done by our Christian missionaries among
the different heathen nations. But it
could not possibly mean this, for in the next verse our Lord calls
attention to the abomination of desolation revealed in the book of Daniel. The abomination of desolation will be in Israel’s
land during the time of
tribulation. It is not there now. [Page 57] It consists in the manifestation of the Antichrist and the work he
does against God. Hence the preaching of
the Gospel of the Kingdom will be done during the last seven years with which
the times of the Gentiles close. These
witnesses are the converted remnant of Israel. They bear witness to Christ and His soon
Coming to judge. The Gospel of the
Kingdom, like the Gospel of Grace, carries with it an offer of mercy for all
who will repent and turn to the Lord. As
we show in the part of this volume covering the Prospects of the Gentiles, many
nations of the earth will then learn righteousness, for besides the witness of
these Israelites, there will be the mighty judgments
of the Lord in the earth. They are
familiar with all the languages of the nations so that in a short time the
Gospel of the kingdom will be heard everywhere.
book of Psalms sheds much light on these final days of tribulation. The Holy Spirit has given in the Psalms a
great prophetic picture of the faith, the work, the persecution and the
deliverance of the godly remnant. Here
we read their future prayers for help and salvation, their sighs, “Oh, that the salvation of Israel
were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the
captivity of His people. Jacob
shall rejoice, and Israel
shall be glad” (Psa. 53: 6). Here also we learn that they know the Lord,
who is at the right hand of God for their prayer will be “Let Thy hand be upon the Man
of Thy right hand, upon the Son of Man Whom Thou madest strong for Thyself”
(Psa. 80: 17). Evidently they know Him, who died for their
nation, was raised from among the dead, and is seated at the right hand of God
and who will come again.
many prayers for help and deliverance found in the Psalms all will then be
prayed as well as the sublime prayer of Isaiah 63
and 64: “Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest
come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence.” All these
prayers will be answered when that future siege of Jerusalem,
recorded in the last chapter of Zechariah, takes place when the nations are
gathered together against Jerusalem
to battle [Page 58] and it
seems that all is lost. Then will appear
in the sky the sign of the Son of Man, probably the Shechinah
cloud, the cloud of glory which carried Him through the heavens and which will
bring Him back. “And it shall be said in that
day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him’ and He will save us; this is
the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”
(Isa. 25: 9). Then when the Redeemer comes again to Zion, it will come to pass
as the same Prophet heralds: “Arise, shine; for Thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the
people, but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon
thee” (Isa. 60: 1, 2).
The faithful, saved remnant will be left to enter into the [millennial] kingdom.
what will happen to the apostate portion of Israel, to the atheists, the
communists, those who fall in line with the beast and worship its image,
practising the worst idolatry? There is
a misconception among many Christians who take an interest in Israel and these final events. They think that all Israelites will share
ultimately in the promised blessings and glory.
shall be saved” does not include
the idolatrous, God-blaspheming part of the nation. Upon them falls judgment. “And I will purge out
from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me; I will being
them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into
the land of Israel” (Ezek.
20: 30). “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” (Zech.
13: 8-9). There is, besides the godly remnant, another
part of Israel
which will be saved when the Lord returns and shall look upon Him whom they
pierced. This will be followed by a
great national mourning and repentance (Zech. 12:
9-13: 1). He will turn away
ungodliness from Jacob according to His covenant and their sins will be taken
away (Rom. 11: 26, 27).
are the prospects of Israel
in the near future. All is preparing for
it. Apostate Jews link themselves with
apostate Gentiles, forming an unholy alliance.
Both will [Page
59] ultimately follow the false
Messiah, the Antichrist, and perish on account of their opposition to God and
to His Christ.
is said that among orthodox Jews today there is a deepening interest in the
expectation of the Messiah, and that not a few seem to have a conviction, that
perhaps after all the One whom their fathers rejected is the promised Redeemer. Several years ago the writer noticed in a
Pullman car a young Hebrew who had put on his phylacteries and prayer
mantle. He was devoutly reading his
prayers. After he finished we engaged
him in a conversation. We asked him as
to his approach into the presence of Jehovah without a sacrifice. He was a most attentive listener. We presented to him the claims that Jesus
must have been the promised Messiah and how through him Israel’s hope will some day be
realized. He was a young rabbi, and as
we parted he expressed his delight over what he had heard and a desire that all
true Jews might hear these truths as the writer had unfolded them. Who knows but that the Spirit of God may
already be beginning the preparation of that remnant.
Israel’s Prospects of Future Restoration,
exposition as to the literal fulfilment of the judgments pronounced against Israel is
endorsed by all Bible believing conservative Christians. The fact is, no other exposition, than that the
curses and threatenings, the dispersion and the sufferings, mean literal Israel, and have been literally
fulfilled, is possible. But how strange that the greater part of conservative
Christians, including preachers, doctors of divinity, professors and presidents
of theological seminaries, deny the literal meaning of the promises of blessing
and glory, which God has put alongside of the pre-written judgments. Yet
another application of these promises is an im possibility.
It has been attempted. The men
who rob Israel of her inheritance, and by
doing so charge God with having broken
His covenant, demonstrating thereby that He has gone back on His own Word of
promise, and therefore cannot be trusted, teach, that the predictions of
blessing and glory have all been transferred to a spiritual Israel, the Church
of Jesus Christ, and are now being enjoyed by the Church. Israel, if not assimilated by
Christendom, must continue under the curse.
They have no hope and no prospects of a glorious future! But this theological, exegetical invention is
illogical, unscriptural and unsound. One
also might ask the question: “Where, all you
commentators of God’s Word, is the spiritual fulfilment of the promises made to
Israel, to Zion
and to Jerusalem?” The fact is that the true Church, as will be
shown later, has her blessings and glory in her glorified Head, and does not
need to become a thief stealing Israel’s
promises to enrich herself. And Christendom, which boasts of an assumed
Christian civilization, trying to attend to Israel’s
earthly calling, departs increasingly from God and His Word and manifests an
unbelief which is far greater than Israel’s unbelief.
We found that Moses had divinely announced the curses
which were to fall upon the nation, as well as Israel’s [Page
61] world-wide dispersion. Immediately after he
received another great message, but of a different character. We must quote it in full, for what He
received from the Lord is the foundation of all the subsequent predictions of Israel’s
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come
upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou
shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord Thy God hath
driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice
according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all
thine heart and all thy soul; that then the Lord will
turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather
thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God has scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the utmost
parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence
will He fetch thee; and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which
thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and
multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy
heart, and the heart of thy seed to love the Lord thy God, with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and
on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all His
commandments which I command thee this day.
And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every good work of
thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in
the fruit of thy land, for good; for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for
good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (Deut.
note several outstanding facts in this prophetic utterance. (1) The future dispersion of Israel
among all nations is assumed. It is not
the captivity in Babylon,
which lasted for seventy years, after which a remnant returned. Nor is it the captivity of the ten tribes,
but it [Page 62] is the dispersion, which our Lord announced “they shall be led away
captive into all nations” (Luke 21: 24). (2) If they
return unto the Lord and obey His voice the Lord will have compassion upon
them. (3) He will return. (4) They will be gathered from all the
nations whither the Lord had scattered them; this will be the result of His return
unto them. (5) They will be
restored to their own land to possess it. (6) There will be their national re-birth the
circumcision of their heart and of their offspring. (7) He will deal with their enemies at the
time of this physical restoration and their spiritual revival. (8) That the Lord will bless them abundantly
and rejoice over them.
eight facts are the basis of all the prospects of blessing and glory announced
by all the prophets. We shall find them
expanded. More and more is added until
we have the complete and marvellous picture of Israel’s future.
seems that the terse statement “will return” is the centre of this key
prophecy of their restoration. What return is it? It could not be an immediate return of the
Lord to re-gather and bless Israel,
for this return of the Lord necessitates their dispersion among all the
nations. Nor is it a spiritual return,
but a literal return, which will result for Israel in all these blessings.
when we speak of a person to return, to come back, it means that the returning
person must have been there before.
There is a suggestive passage in Hosea, which makes this return of
Jehovah very clear. It is Jehovah who
speaks – “I will go and return
to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face; in their
affliction they will seek me early” (Hos. 5: 15).
many promises of the coming of a Redeemer, according to the flesh, the son of
David, were fulfilled in the coming of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus
Christ. He came as the Shepherd of
Israel to seek and to save what is lost.
He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. After His sacrificial death, His burial and
His resurrection, He returned to His place, and took, in fulfilment of
prophecy, His place at the right hand of God. He is waiting
there till His enemies are made the footstool of His feet, which will happen in
His personal, visible and glorious return. He is waiting till [Page
63] some of the nation which rejected
Him acknowledge their offence and seek His face. But when will that happen? The quoted text from Hosea gives the answer –
affliction.” The affliction is the time of “Jacob’s trouble,” the “day of their calamity - the great tribulation.” If we read the
opening verses of the next chapter in Hosea we see what follows when that day
of trouble, this affliction is upon them.
We hear the godly in Israel
saying – “Come,
and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath
smitten and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us; in the third day He will raise us up,
and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, His going forth
is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the
latter and former rain.” Here is the prediction of the conversion of
the remnant of Israel
which turns to the Lord. The two days have been
interpreted by certain Rabbis as meaning two
thousand years, and this has been adopted
by some Christian teachers. It has
also been applied to the first captivity in Babylon and the larger dispersion since they
rejected Christ. The third day in Scripture is always the day of recovery and
resurrection. Here it is “the Day of the Lord” which will be a thousand years in which restored and
lives in His sight.
which is so prominent in Moses’s restoration
prediction, His return before the great blessing can come, as we learned from
the passage in Hosea, is the order in every portion of the Word of God,
especially in the prophetic Psalms. There will be no full restoration of Israel,
no national blessing, no fulfilment of the many
unfulfilled prophecies of glory, till He whom the nation despised and rejected
comes the second time. All is dependent
on this great coming event. There can be no Kingdom, no peace on earth, no
deliverance from the curse, nor any of the many other
promised blessings till Christ returns.
in his second address after Pentecost lays down the same prophetic law in the revealed plan of God. His hearers were not Gentiles. He addressed them as “Ye men of Israel.” At
Pentecost there were not only Jews gathered in Jerusalem, but the other tribes were well
represented. He spoke to the men of
Israel and said: “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,
when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He
shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heavens must receive until the
times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all
His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts
“The restitution of all things” in its meaning is not left to the guesses of commentators, it is well defined by what “all His holy prophets have spoken”. It includes Israel’s restoration and blessing,
the promised [millennial] kingdom, the re-gathering of the nations and the removal of the
curse which rests upon creation.
According to Peter’s testimony this restitution, or restoration of all
things, is linked to the return of Him who has passed through the heavens and
who has taken as the glorified Man His place on the Father’s throne. And He will be sent back to accomplish God’s
purposes in Israel when a
part of Israel
repents and turns to the Lord.
find another witness to God’s program in the apostolic age. It was given during the first general Church
council in Jerusalem,
which met to decide certain important matters which were troubling the early
Church. Peter had given an account of how the Lord had used him in preaching to
Gentiles and how they had been saved by believing on the same Christ by whom
Jews had been saved. As their Lord had
commanded them, the Gospel witness had been given in Jerusalem,
first, in Judea and in Samaria. But it was not to stop with that. “Unto the uttermost parts of
the earth” was His
commission. It began with Peter’s first sermon to the household
of Cornelius. Then James spoke: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the
Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name. And to this agree [Page 65] the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this 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; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, who doeth
all these things. Known unto God are all
His works from the beginning of the world”
14-18). In these apostolic words we find all that
confirmed which the prophets teach as to the future of Israel.
a new fact is stated which was not revealed to the prophets. The Gentile world is to receive first the
Gospel witness before Israel’s
hope can be realized. Out of the Gentile
nations there is to be gathered a people for His Name, an out-called company,
called the Church. When this is done,
when God’s eternal purpose as to the present age is accomplished, the great,
long promised event will happen. “I will return!” It could not
possibly mean anything else but the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what will come after that return? Will it mean, as taught by many, the end of
the world? The inspired declaration of
James gives us the answer. The tabernacle of David, which has been in ruins so long,
will be set up and built again. It means the re-establishment of the house and throne of David. Incidentally, this answers the invention of
the British-Israel claim that the throne of David is in existence in Great Britain,
that the late Queen Victoria and her
offspring are lineal descendants of David, etc.
The throne of David will he set up and a son of David will occupy that
throne but not till Christ has come back. The
residue of men seeking after the Lord and all the Gentiles,
means the conversion of the world.
turn next to a few of the outstanding prophecies in the Old Testament revealing
Israel’s hope, destiny and future blessing and glory, still further confirming
what has already been said.
we mention the testimony of the Psalms. Christians
who use the Psalms only as a devotional book miss much. They contain some of the most remarkable
prophecies of the entire Bible. The
sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow are written here as
nowhere else in [Page 66] Scripture. But the book of
Psalms also contains a large number of prayers which reveal distress. They ascend to heaven from hearts sorely
tried. Persecution, affliction, dangers of various kinds, deep soul exercises
and death experiences produce these prayers.
True enough, many of them belong to Him who was “the man of sorrows and
acquainted with griefs,” but many
arise from the hearts and lips of persecuted saints, who are hard pressed by
their enemies, who are facing troubles of all kinds and death as well. They are the pre-written prayers of the
remnant of Israel
which during the day of national calamity turn to the Lord. They look for deliverance not from earthly
sources, but from above. When their
deliverance and salvation comes, it is always through the manifestation of the
Lord, the King-Messiah, who is the hope of Israel. Then, after His manifestation and their
deliverance we read in Psalm after Psalm their praise and worship, giving
thanks for salvation.
give an illustration. The second part of
the book begins with the forty-second and ends with the seventy-second
Psalm. This section corresponds to the
book of Exodus in the Pentateuch. As in
Exodus, so in these Psalms we hear a people longing for help and deliverance. They are away from their homeland. They pour out their souls; they weep bitter
tears; they encourage themselves by calling on the Lord. “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all
thy waves and billows are gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and in the
night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” “As with a sword in my bones,
mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where
is thy God” (Psa. 42:7-10). These
are the prayers of the Israelites who have turned to the Lord and wait for His
salvation. The two Psalms which follow
reveal still greater troubles. While they express their confidence in the Lord
and hope for an answer from above they utter their complaint. “Thou makest us a [Page 67] reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. Thou makest us a byword among the nations, a
shaking of the head among the people … yea for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as
sheep for the slaughter” (Psa. 44: 13, 14, 22). Then comes
the despairing cry for help. “Awake, why sleepest thou, 0
Lord? Arise cast us not off forever … Arise for our
help, and redeem us for Thy mercies sake!” (Verses 23 and 26). It does not
take much imagination to picture the great distress through which the godly of Israel will
pass in the day when nations persecute them and their own apostate brethren
under the instigation of the false Messiah heap trouble upon them.
will the cry for help be answered? Who
is bringing deliverance? When comes their deliverance?
The Psalm which follows, the forty-fifth, answers this. Here the glorious King is revealed, the King
from above, who comes to deliver, who comes to judge His and His people’s
enemies, who comes to receive the sceptre of the kingdom. “Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, 0 most mighty, with Thy glory
and majesty. And in Thy majesty ride
prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right
hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby they
fall under thee” (Psa. 45: 3-5). After the Psalm which reveals prophetically
the coming of the King, their prayers for help become songs of praise and the
glorious results of His return are described.
The forty-sixth Psalm celebrates their deliverance. “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved, God shall help her in the dawn of the morning.” And in
retrospect they say: “The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved,
He uttered His voice, the earth melted” (Verse
6). Triumphantly the saved remnant shouts “The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge.” They look back and see the judgment work
which was done by the King of glory – “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath
made in the earth” (Verse 8). And what has
He done, what are the results of [Page 68] His Coming? “He maketh wars to cease unto
the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear asunder; He burneth the Chariot in the
fire” (Verse 9). The
forty-seventh and forty-eighth Psalms complete the picture of the results of
His return. There is joy and blessing,
for He is the great King over all the earth.
He reigneth over the nations; praises are sung unto the King. “Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised in the city of
our God, in the mountain of His holiness.
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North, the
city of the great King” (Psa. 48: 1-2). These great
prophetic messages of the Psalms are repeated over and over again and always in
the same order - a remnant of His people turning to Him; that remnant suffers
great afflictions and persecution; they cry to the Lord for help; He comes in
power and great glory; He delivers His people, deals with their enemies, and the [millennial]
kingdom of righteousness and peace is established.
we were to quote all the prophets have to say we would have to fill several
hundred pages with quotations and then discover how remarkably they all predict
the same order of events. How it
verifies the belief of God’s true children, that prophecy and all the Word of
God is the work of one Author, the omniscient Spirit of God.
give only a fraction of some of the glorious prospects of Israel found in all the Old
Testament prophetic books. We begin with
Isaiah. One of the great Messianic
portions in this prophet is found in chapters ten, eleven, and twelve. The Assyrian invasion, used by God as a rod
to correct and chastise Israel,
is described in the tenth chapter. He is
permitted to come to the very gates of Jerusalem,
and there he is arrested by the manifestation of the power of the Lord in
behalf of His people. This invasion is a
prophetic type of the future invasion by the final Assyrian, the power from the
North. That it looks forward to that
coming day of trouble may be learned from verses 20-24. “And it shall come to
pass in that day (that coming day
of the Lord) that the remnant
of Israel, and such as are escaped [Page 69] of the house of
Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon
the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty
God. For though thy people Israel
be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall
return; the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts shall make a
consumption even determined, in the midst of all the land.”
chapter which follows tells us more fully of the Person of the Deliverer and
the gracious results of His deliverance.
He will be the rod of the stem of Jesse, a Branch out of his roots. Thus He is called in the New Testament, “The root and offspring of
David.” Upon Him rests the Holy Spirit in all His
fullness. His holy character is
mentioned. Then the Spirit of God speaks
of Him and the work He will do in the future.
righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of
the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the
breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Verses
14). This passage is quoted by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 and linked to His Return. As a result of His return we find the
There will he a great change in the animal world which has suffered on account
of man’s sin, having become a groaning creation. It will be restored to its
former, Edenic condition. (2) The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
(3) The Son of David, will stand for an ensign of the
people, that is, they will gather around
Him, whom they rejected. (4) The Gentiles shall seek Him. (5) His
rest will be glorious. (6) There
will be a re-gathering and a restoration
of all Israel. “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 Asyria, 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.” We have put “second time” in italics for not a few expositors [Page
70] have stated that this means the
return from the seventy years captivity in Babylon.
It does not. They were not
scattered in the islands of the sea. It
is a future re-gathering which can only take place when the Lord returns. This fact should dispel the British Israel
assumption, that England
represents the re-gathered Israel
in possession of the earthly blessings.
great truth, written so large everywhere in the prophetic Word, is also taught
by our Lord Himself. In Matthew 24: 29, 30 He speaks of His personal and glorious return. Then He speaks of what will happen as the
result of His return. “And He shall send His angels
with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather together His elect from
the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Superficial
Bible teachers have made this the gathering of the Church, because the word “elect” is mentioned here. But the “elect”
are the elect [out of the] nation Israel, His chosen people. The words of our Lord are in full harmony
with all we have seen from different Scriptures.
next chapter contains saved Israel’s
hymn of praise. What an exhaustless
praise it is! He was angry with them;
His anger is turned away. Jehovah is now
their salvation, their strength and their song.
And all because the Holy One of Israel, their King, is
in the midst of them. “Sing unto the Lord; for He
hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.” Isaiah’s
Prophecy contained in chapters twenty-four to twenty-seven has been rightly
called “Isaiah’s little Apocalypse.” We must leave it to the reader to study these
chapters. They describe the coming day of trouble, the trusting remnant and
their faith in His promises, the Lord dealing with their enemies and their own
deliverance and blessing. We also hear
their songs of praise.
the second part of this prophetic book we find the greatest of all the
restoration promises of Israel
and the coming day of earthly and spiritual glory. We must point out first of all their relation
to that great and much beloved chapter, the fifty-third. Here we have the picture of Israel’s Messiah, the servant of
Jehovah, bearing the sins of His [Page 71] people. No greater description is found in the
Word of God of the substitutionary,
sacrificial death of the Lamb of God.
While the oldest Hebrew comments see in this servant the Messiah, modern
Judaism rejects this entirely and claims that not the Messiah is the sufferer,
but the nation is in view, as the sin-bearer, being afflicted and smitten. This perversion is also being taught by the
modernistic theological seminaries of Christendom.
Christian believers, who love this chapter and see in it our own redemption
almost exclusively, seeing our spiritual need supplied in Him “who was wounded for our
transgressions, bruised for our iniquities,” have missed a great lesson. The chapter is couched in the language of
confession. It is the confession of a
people who despised and rejected Him, who esteemed Him not. And now they discover that after all He bore
their griefs and carried their sorrows.
They thought He was stricken and smitten of God. However, they have found out that He was
wounded for their transgressions. They
acknowledge that they were like sheep gone astray and that the Lord laid on Him
their iniquity, as upon the scape-goat in the ceremonial
of the Day of Atonement Israel’s sins were laid. The fifty-third chapter is Israel’s coming
confession of Him whom they reject, in whose atoning work they did not believe
though He died for their nation (John 11: 51). This confession will come from their lips
when “They shall
look upon Him whom they pierced” (Zech 12:
10). The results of that
confession, after the Lord’s return, is marvellously revealed in the
chapter which follows. In the Bible
which we use, we find this heading of the fifty-fourth chapter: “The prophet, for the comfort of the Gentiles. prophesieth the amplitude of their church.” What confusing nonsense! Yet it is this misinterpretation which is
universally taught in Christendom by men who are woefully ignorant of God’s
revealed plans and purposes. No! the promises, the
words of comfort and glory, are Israel’s. What is written here will take place after Israel’s
confession of Christ. The barren nation
is commanded to sing; she will have a wonderful increase in her offspring. She will inherit [Page 72] the Gentiles, who will be gathered into the kingdom,
which will be headed by the saved
remnant of Israel. So great will be the blessing that they will
forget their erstwhile shame and the reproach of Israel’s long widowhood. All is changed now. “For thy maker is thy husband; the Lord of hosts is His name;
and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be
called” (Verse 5).
there be anything more beautiful than the following words – “For a small moment have I
forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face for a moment;
but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy
Redeemer. For this is as the waters of
Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go
over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke
thee. For the mountains shall depart,
and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither
shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on
thee” (Verses 7-10). Then follow words which apply to Jerusalem,
the city where He was crucified. It is
to become, at His Return, the glorious capital of the kingdom. “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
behold I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations in
sapphires. And I will make thy windows
agates, and thy gates carbuncle and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the
Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established;
thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear, and from terror,
for it shall not come near thee.” Surely “glorious things”
are spoken as to Israel’s
tide rises higher when we turn to chapters fifty-nine to sixty-three of
Isaiah. We must be content to give a
first part of the fifty-ninth chapter gives a vivid picture of the apostate
conditions of Israel
before their great future will come by the appearing of the Lord. It is a most striking prophecy in which we
can read all the evils which [Page 73] are so manifest in that nation,
and for that matter, in apostate Gentile Christendom also. We sum up a few of the things mentioned. Their sins separate them from God; their
hands are defiled with blood and their fingers with iniquity; lips speak lies
and tongues utter perverseness; they trust in vanity; their transgressions are
multiplied. The fifteenth verse gives us
a dark picture of the moral condition of the people. It is used in the Epistle
of the Romans to show man’s utter helplessness and hopelessness to return to God. If anything is to be done for them God must
do it. It is so here.
“There was no man and no intercessor. Then He put on righteousness as a breastplate
and the helmet of salvation. He put on
the garments of vengeance. He rises up
in His majesty to save His people from utter ruin and deal with their enemies
likewise. So shall they fear the name of
the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood (at the time of Jacob’s final trouble) the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a
standard against him” (Isa. 54: 16-19).
appears in behalf of His Israel. “And the Redeemer shall come
to Zion, and
unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord” (Verse 20, quote
in Romans 11:26). Here, then, once more stands
first the coming of the Redeemer, and the chapters which follow unfold the
gracious results of His coming for Israel
land. The glory light, His glory, bursts
forth (Chapter 60: 1). It has been generally applied to His first
coming, but Romans 11: 26 makes it clear that it is His
second coming in great power and glory. Then follows the gathering
of the nations into the kingdom. Jerusalem will be called the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel (Verse
14). “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,
wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls
Salvation and thy gates Praise. The Sun
shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give
light unto thee, but the Lord shall be thine everlasting light and the days of
thy mourning shall be over” (See Isa. 4: 4-6).
“Thy people also shall be all righteous,
they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
that I may be glorified.” What wonderful meaning these
prospects take on, if we let them stand in their literal and future meaning and
refrain from evaporating them by an unscriptural spiritualization!
is well known that the opening sentences of the sixty-first chapter [of Isaiah] were
quoted by our Lord in the synagogue of Nazareth
(Luke 4: 16-20). Our Lord had received from the rabbi of the
synagogue the scroll of Isaiah to read, what Jews call the “Haftorah” after the reading of the “Torah,”
the appointed portion of the law. He was
expected to read more than the first statements. When He reached the sentence “to proclaim the acceptable year
of the Lord,” He closed the
scroll, gave it back to the minister and sat down. Then to the astonishment of all He said, “This day is this Scripture
fulfilled in your ears.” And so it was and so it is still fulfilled
during this age, for it is the acceptable year of the Lord. But why did He not continue to read? Because what follows can only come to pass in and
after His return. The
next sentence is “the day of vengeance of our God.” This day comes with His return,
for of His first coming it is written, “For God sent
not His Son into the world, to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3: 17). In His return He will bring judgment, but that
is followed by the blessings and the glory of Israel [and
the restoration of this groaning “creation,” (Rom.
8: 19-21)]. This is beautifully made known again in the
rest of the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah. All these chapters contain a continued
prophecy, revealing the prospects of Israel [during
in the sixty-second chapter we hear of the
new name by which redeemed Israel is to be called. What glorious prospects the Spirit of God here
unfolds for faith to enjoy! “Thou shalt be a crown of
glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” No longer will
the nation be called forsaken and the land be termed
desolate. Heplizi-bah and Beulah will be
the new names. His delight will be in
her; Beulah means “married” – [Page 75] again joined to the Lord from whom Israel had been divorced so long. Their spiritual blessings are all summed up in
the last verse of this chapter. “And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, and thou shalt be
called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
great vision is found in the sixty-third chapter of the same prophet. Here is One described
coming from a battle. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed
garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel,
travelling in the greatness of His strength?” Who is asking
this question? It belongs in the mouth
of the redeemed remnant of Israel.
And what does He answer them? “I, that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Again they
art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth the winefat?” Then follows His answer again and that answer
contains solemn words. “I have trodden the winepress
alone; and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in Mine
anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood
shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and
the year of My redeemed is come. And I looked, and
there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore
Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me and My fury upheld Me. And I will tread down the people in Mine
anger, and make them drunk in My fury, and I will
bring down their strength to the earth.” This has been interpreted as
meaning His redemption work through the shedding of His own
blood. It does not mean this at all. It is His judgment work which He will execute
in His return. It is that which Moses had
announced in His prophetic song. It is
the answer to the imprecatory prayers of His persecuted Israel, crying for deliverance from
the hands of their enemies. In the great
vision of Revelation, describing His victorious return (Revelation 19: 11-16) the same judgment aspect is revealed. “And He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of
Almighty God.” Both Isaiah’s vision and John’s vision are
written in symbolical terms.
final chapter of Isaiah, to which we have called attention before, gives the
same prospects. His coming is revealed
in this chapter in these words: “A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to His enemies”
(verse 6). The preceding verse contains
the sneers of the apostate, ungodly ones in Israel. Here is His answer. After that comes suddenly the re-birth and
deliverance of the nation, and the rest of the chapter is filled with the words
of comfort and peace for Jerusalem, the redeemed
people and Israel’s
prophetic books which follow the book of Isaiah contain the same future
prospects of Israel,
always linked to his visible and glorious manifestation, and always following
that event. All we can do is to point to
a few of the outstanding unfulfilled predictions.
Jeremiah, besides revealing the impending seventy years
captivity of Judah and their
return from Babylon,
also received messages which were not fulfilled in the past. One of the outstanding prophets is found in
the twenty-third chapter – “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto
David a righteous Brance, and a king shall reign and
prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah
shall be saved, and Israel
shall dwell safely, and this is the name whereby he shall be called ‘The Lord
our Righteousness’” (Verses 5, 6). The context
shows that there will be a restoration of the seed of the house of Israel. That such a king, the Branch of
David, has never reigned, and does not reign now, is obvious, for Judah is not saved nor does Israel dwell
safely, nor has the restoration taken place. It comes when the prophetic words
communicated to Mary of Nazareth, through Gabriel, are fulfilled “And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1: 32).
great unfolding of Israel’s
prospects of blessing is found in that part of the prophecies of Jeremiah in which Jacob’s trouble is
predicted. (Chapters 30 and 31). Here the Lord promises “I will save thee from afar,
and thy seed from the land of their captivity.” He assures
them “Though [Page
77] I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered
thee, yet will I not make a full end
of thee” (Verses
10 and 11). The entire thirty-first chapter is filled with restoration promises.
with the thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel
to the end of that book we find unfulfilled prophecies, some of them most
remarkable, but all in fullest harmony with the messages of the other prophets.
They have nothing whatever to do with
the present age and the Church of Jesus Christ.
the thirty-fourth chapter the predictions are written as to the future work of
the Shepherd of Israel. It is not His
shepherd work of the past. In His first
coming He appeared to seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel. His
message as the minister of the circumcision was not to the Gentiles, but to the
sheep of Israel
alone. He sent His disciples, the twelve
and the seventy, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt.
same Shepherd who was on earth almost two thousand years ago, who came to seek
the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who was moved with compassion, who gave
His life for the sheep, is returning. Of
this the prophecy of Ezekiel gives us the prospect. “For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both
search my sheep and seek them out. As a
shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are
scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places
where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day” (Ezek. 34: 11-12). And that cloudy and dark day
covers the period of their long wanderings and the dark ending in their
tribulation night. Then, after
additional promises of re-gathering and restored blessings, we read: “Therefore will I save my
flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and
cattle.” Then comes the
promise of the one shepherd: “My servant David a prince
among them, I the Lord have spoken it” (Verses
22-24). It seems that in the day
of Israel’s restoration a [Page 78] descendant of David* will be on the throne in Jerusalem as a vice-regent
of Him, who is according to His humanity the Son of David, and who as King of
kings and Lord of lords will reign over the House of Jacob and over all the
should it not be King David himself?]
who is able to trace the descendants of David? According to Jewish tradition many centuries
ago, the last offspring of David died, we believe, in Spain. But even this is not certain. The British Israel assumption that the
reigning house of Great
Britain is Davidic is so ridiculous that it
needs no refutation. But God knows, for
while man can not trace these genealogies any longer, He has kept track of it. Others have advanced the belief that the
ruler, David, the prince, is David himself, raised from the dead.
When the day of fulfilment comes it will
be known who this vice-regent will be.
covenant of peace is promised to Israel restored and in perfect
safety – “they
shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods” (Verse 25).
Christian believers, who sing joyfully – “There shall
be showers of blessing” - know that this belongs to Israel first of all, for in verse 26 of this chapter we read – “there shall be showers of blessing.” The great showers
of blessing will come upon restored Israel
and through Israel
to the nations of the world. The thirty-sixth
chapter takes us back to the unconditional promises made to Abraham, the father
As we pointed out before they were
unconditional, the two words “I will” reveal God’s
sovereign grace, which does not permit an “if” a
condition. Here in this prophecy of
Ezekiel we find many times God’s sovereign “I will”
with no condition whatever. It is their
future national and spiritual salvation accomplished through the Grace of God,
and not bestowed on account of their works or character.
most precious promises are introduced by the following words: “Therefore say unto the house
of Israel, Thus saith the
Lord God, I do not this for your sakes, 0 House of Israel, but for mine holy Name’s
sake, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye went. And [Page 79] I will sanctify My great name, which was
profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them, and
the nations shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be
sanctified in you before their eyes” (Verses 22, 23).
we hear of these prospects of blessing. The
“I will” of re-gathering out of all countries (Verse 24). The
“I will” of cleansing and of their new birth and
the gift of the [Holy]
Spirit. “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. And a
new heart will I also 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” (Verses
promise of “sprinkling
clean water” has nothing whatever
to do with baptism, as some have taught. It is the promise of their national cleansing
and the new birth. Before Israel can
enter into the kingdom they must be born again. Our Lord in conversing with Nicodemus
expressed astonishment that Nicodemus was the teacher in Israel and did not know this (John 3: 10). With this cleansing and the new birth of Israel,
the gift of the Spirit is promised which will enable them to be His obedient
people. After these gracious experiences
which Israel will make through the Grace of God, it is written “Neither will I hide my face
any more from them, for I have poured out My Spirit upon the House of Israel,
saith the Lord” (Chapter 39: 29). With all these spiritual blessings returns the fruitfulness of the land. “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become
like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are
become fenced and inhabited” (Verse 35).
the thirty-seventh chapter is recorded one
of the most suggestive prophetic visions of the Bible, the vision of the valley
filled with dry bones. The prophet is
asked if these bones can live. He is commanded
to prophesy, “0 ye dry [Page 80] bones, hear the Word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold I will cause breath
to enter into you, and ye shall live.” After the first prophesying
there was a noise, and “behold a shaking, and the bones
came together, bone to his bone.” It was a reorganization of these bones which
were also covered with flesh, sinews and skin. But there was no life in them. A second prophesying supplied the life, the
breath came, “and they lived, and stood up upon their
feet an exceeding great army.”
is the meaning of the vision? Some have read into it physical resurrection* and have built
up an unscriptural theory, that of a second chance for the wicked. Still others attempted to teach a special
Jewish resurrection, also for a second chance. But these dry bones the prophet saw cannot
represent the physically dead, for they speak. Death and resurrection is used here
symbolically as elsewhere in the Bible. The
vision itself gives the correct meaning. “Then He said unto
Me, Son of Man, these bones are the whole House of Israel; behold, they say,
Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts.”
The dry bones typify the desperate
national and spiritual condition of the whole house of Israel, that is, the house of Judah and the house of Israel. The only hope they have is in the power of
Jehovah. How national and spiritual life
will be given is the prophecy of this vision.
saith the Lord God - Behold, 0 my people, I
will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring
you into the land
of Israel.” The graves represent their national death. They are buried among the nations. Furthermore the Lord said - “And shall put My Spirit in
you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you into your own land.”
[* And why not? This is precisely what will happen when our
Lord returns – “The dead in Christ will rise first…”
(1 Thess. 4: 16b);
is this not a ‘physical resurrection’?
Yes, it most certainly is: and the ‘wicked’
dead will have no part in it!]
final prophecies of Ezekiel (Chapters 38-48) will be fulfilled after the quoted restoration promises have been
accomplished. The hordes from the North,
Gog and Magog, will attempt an invasion, and find
then their extermination. And after that
comes the great temple-vision, when in Israel’s land a great central place
of worship will be built, the house of prayer for all nations.
can mention only briefly the testimony of some of the other prophets, who all reveal the prospects of blessing and glory which
are promised to Israel.
Daniel witnesses to it. The vision
blessing and promised dominion is seen in connection with the collapse of
Gentile world dominion. Their
deliverance comes through the manifestation of the Son of Man. Then the great tribulation ends, and “Judgment was given to the
saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the
kingdom”… “and the kingdom and dominion, and the
greatness of the kingdom under the whole
heaven, shall he given to the people
of the saints of the most high, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Chapter
7: 22, 27).
witness of the future of the children of Israel and contains numerous
prospects of restoration and glory. “For the children of Israel
shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a
sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim; afterward shall the children of Israel
return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and shall fear the
Lord and His goodness in the latter days” (Chapter
3: 4-5). The term “many days”
(Yomim rabbim) means the present Gentile age, during
is in the political and religious condition as given in this prophecy. The other term “in the latter days” (B’acherith Ha-Yomim) means the coming days of the Messiah. Then their return will take place as well as
their national restoration.
Joel received a Prophecy as to what precedes the physical
restoration and the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh. Again it is seen that it will be a time of
trouble, which produces the repentance of the people. “Then
will the Lord be jealous for His land
and pity His people” (Joel 2: 18). The Lord’s manifestation for the deliverance
and salvation of Israel
is more fully seen in the last chapter of this prophet.
find the witness given in Chapter 9: 11-15.
Obadiah prophesying of coming judgment upon the opposing
forces of Edom concludes his
brief utterances by penning “And saviours (the witnessing remnant of Israel) shall come up on mount Zion
to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.”
Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah,
we read the same prospects of hope and glory in Chapters
4: 1-7 and 5: 4-8. Habakkuk’s ode (Chapter 3)
reveals the return of the Lord, Israel’s
Messiah, in a majestic way. And why does
He come? “Thou wentest forth for the
salvation of Thy people, even for salvation with Thine anointed. Thou
woundest the head out of the house of the wicked (the Antichrist) by discovering
the foundation unto the neck” (Verse 13). Beautiful are Zephaniah’s words of what will take place after the day of the Lord,
the day of His glorious manifestation, has come. “Sing, 0 daughter of Zion;
shout, 0 Israel; be glad and
rejoice with all the heart, 0 daughter of Jerusalem.
The Lord has taken away thy judgments,
He hath cast out thine enemy; the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the
midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said
to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands
be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst
of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will
rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” This is followed by the assurance of their
wonderful restoration (Chapter 3: 14-20). The three post-exilic prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi all contain the same glorious prospects. Especially rich is Zechariah in his inspired
forecasts in which he shows the same order of events – Israel’s dispersion, the call of a
remnant, their suffering, the coming of the long expected Lord and what will
follow this great coming event. Then they
will break forth in singing – “for, Lo, I come to dwell in the midst of thee, saith
the Lord, And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and
shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know
that the Lord of hosts has sent me” (Chapter
2: 10-19). “And it shall come to
pass, that as ye were a curse [Page 83] among the nations, 0 house of Judah, and
House of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing; fear not, let
your hands be strong” (Chapter 8: 13).
Note that the house of Israel also was a curse among the
nations. “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in
Jerusalem and pray before the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; in those
days it shall come to pass, that ten men out of all languages of the nations,
even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with
you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Chapter
8: 22-23). In the twelfth chapter is the prophecy of the
great mourning in Jerusalem in the day when “they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced” and the final great prophecy of Zechariah brings the
future siege of Jerusalem
into view. Then, when
all nations are gathered against Jerusalem
to battle “the Lord
shall go forth, and fight against those nations.” His feet will stand once more upon the mount
of Olives, the place from which He left the earth to return to the Heaven from
which He had come “and the Lord my God shall come, and
all the saints [or ‘holy ones’]* with thee” (14: 1-5).
The same gracious and glorious results
which all the other prophets linked with the manifestation of the Lord follow
also in Zechariah’s last prophecy. Living
waters flow forth from Jerusalem; the Lord shall
be king over all the earth; the wealth of all the nations round about will be
gathered together and nations shall go up to Jerusalem to worship the King. The last chapter in the Old Testament gives in
vision once more the same testimony.
[*NOTE. This refers
primarily to the angels of God. If ‘saints’ are to accompany Him, then they are those saints
who have been rapt into Heaven before the Great Tribulation, (Luke 21: 34-26).
There must be two translations of living saints –
one group rapt into heaven before the end times sets in, and
the other at its end.]
wonderful prospects these are! The God
of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob will keep His oath - bound covenants He made with the seed of Abraham, and, as the curses found their
literal fulfilment, so will the promises of blessing. It will mean more than the blessing of Israel.
Their restoration and spiritual
blessings will bring blessing to the whole world to demonstrate anew that “salvation
is of the Jews.” This is Paul’s great
argument in the eleventh chapter of Romans.
“If the fall of them became the riches of the world, and the
diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? And if the casting away of them became the
reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”* (Rom. 11: 12-15).
See Luke 14:
14; 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b; Rev. 20: 4-6.]