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and the political rulers of the earth still count them as a common prey.
This, however, several prophecies predict to be the case. That, found in Ezekiel, ch. xxxviii. is very clear and express. There, after the period of Israel's restoration, their last great enemy is addressed in the following language :
Ver. 8. In the latter days thou shalt come into the land, that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many peoples, against the mountains of Israel, that have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.”—“Thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages : I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; to take a spoil and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places” that are now "inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”
We have here a description of Israel, or of some portion of it, restored to their own land, after its long desolation, gathered from the nations, brought back from the sword that had dispersed them, and to a certain degree made to thrive and flourish in peace, on the site of their ancient inheritance. They “ have gotten cattle and goods ;” but their prosperity is soon disturbed by the invading foe. This description by no means agrees with the view which the spirit of prophecy gives us of the eternal and umdisturbed felicity of Israel, at the period of their grand final restoration. Hence I argue for the necessity of a previous restoration of the Jews to Palestine: brought about, indeed, by the same
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Divine Providence, which his believing people will not fail to observe; but which will not have appeared in the eyes of nations, nor perhaps in the eyes of Israel themselves, as that manifest interposition of the Deity for which they look, according to the plain and unquestionable language of their prophets.
In the prophecy now before us, we discover that it is only in judgments afterward to be inflicted upon
this last invader of their country, God declares, Xxxviii. 23. “ Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.”
It is not till after a repeated description of this vengeance of the Almighty, that we read:
xxxix. 21. “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.”
Nay, it appears from the following verse, that this executed judgment has a similar effect upon restored Israel themselves, in making known their God unto them:
22. So the house of Israel shall know that I am Jehovah, their Elohim, from that day and forward."
This declaration may well hold our minds in suspense, respecting the religious character of that first restored portion of Israel previously to this Divine judgment upon their invaders.
It appears to me also, that it is after the effect of this stupendous vengeance upon mankind and upon Israel-after Jehovah is made known, that the grand,
final restoration is introduced in this very prophecy. In verses twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth we read :
“ Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; after that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses, whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.”
This seems to have a special reference to the portion first restored; for they, when the enemy invades them, are described as a people “dwelling safely,” or “confidently.”
xxxix. 27. “When I have brought them again from the peoples, and gathered them out of the enemies lands, and am sanctified in them, in the sight of many nations; then shall they know that I am Jehovah, their Elohim, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen; but have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them : for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith Jehovah Elohim."
The mention in the prophecy above, of “the land of unwalled villages,”* as characteristic of the Holy Land in the latter days, will remind us of a similar expression in one of the prophecies of Zechariah : “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls,”' f or “Jerusalem shall dwell in villages,” “ for the multitude of men and cattle therein." And whatever mingling of type or symbol we may acknowledge in this prophecy, we cannot apply it * Ezekiel xxxviii. ll,
+ Zechariah ii. 4.
wholly to the concerns of that remnant which returned from Babylon. It must have reference to “ the times of the end :” for the scene described, as we learn from the latter part of the first chapter, is presented to us after the four “ horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it,” have been “cast out." Like the former prophecy in Ezekiel, I conclude, therefore, it is to be applied, to the first periods of a restoration of Israel, when the times of the Gentiles have been, or are about to be, fulfilled. This habitation of the land in village fashion," appeared in the eyes of the last enemy in Ezekiel as an exposed and defenceless situation, provoking the cupidity of the spoiler. This is anticipated in the prophecy before us. It follows: "For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”*
The effectual protection here described has certainly never yet been afforded to Jerusalem since the restoration from the Babylonian captivity; but “the destruction from the Almighty,” which awaits the last invader of “the land of unwalled villages” in Ezekiel, well illustrates this wall of fire for a protection, when the apparently defenceless state of the victim shall encourage the foe. And as her God will appear as the defender of restored Jerusalem, when the danger comes, so will he afterwards manifest his glory in the midst of her. For it appears from the eighth and ninth verses, that it is after he hath poured his vengeance upon the nations which came to spoil them,—which, as the remarkable expression is, “had touched the apple of his eye,”—that they are addressed :
* Zechariah ü. 5.
10,&c. "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come, and will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined unto the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and thou shalt know that Jehovah Sabaoth has sent me unto thee. And Jehovah shall inherit Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, О all flesh, before Jehovah, for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
On these passages I chiefly ground my expectation of a previous and partial restoration of Israel to the land of their fathers. I conceive also from the context, that Jehovah's care of his vineyard, (Isaiah xxvii.) is to be applied to Jerusalem at the same time and in the same circumstances. This may be thus given from the original :
“ In that day Delightful vineyard !'
I have no wall, *
he create for me."
Septuagint and Syriac Versions.