« PreviousContinue »
the7th verse downward, be applied to the times in which our Saviour appeared, the perplexity is removed, the interpretation appears connected, and every expression of the prophet has been fully verified by the event.
if ver. 11. signifies the teaching of Senacherib's rod, how does that agree with the doctrine taught?“ To whom he said, This is the rest “ wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, " and this is the refreshing, yet they would not • hear;" ver. 12. Was it to offer rest that Senacherib invaded Judea ?" But was not this the design of the apostle's ministry, to point out Jesus as the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold, their fathers expected, and in whom their fouls should find rest and refreshment? The address to the rulers, ver. 14, 15. if applied to Hezekiah's time, supposes a faction in opposition to his government, which the history of these times does not warrant; whereas, without sup. posing any thing, but what is on record, thé address is perfectly applicable to the rulers of the Jewish nation in our Saviour's time. They derided and rejected the Saviour, to ingratiate themselves with the Roman people, the great destroyers of mankind at that period. “If we « let him thus alone, (say they) all men will “ believe on him, and the Romans shall come
" and take away both our place and nation ;” John XI. 48.
In ver. 18.-22. it appears, that the covenant of the rulers, with the deftroyers called Death, ended in the destruction of the rulers, and the utter desolation of their land. Was this the end of Senacherib's invasion ? Did it not issue in a glorious deliverance ? But every part of this defcription was fully verified by the Roman disperlon.
State of the Jews.
The history of the Jews is more or less mingled with the greater part of the Old Testament prophecies. They are sometimes represented as in a state of difperfion; at other times, as re. ftored to the favour of God ;=gathered from among the nations ;-brought back to their own land; or as enjoying all happiness in it. · Some one or other of these circumstances annexed to a section of prophecy, at the beginning or end, or blended with it throughout, shews, that the events contained in that section of prophecy hall be contemporary with the state of the Jewilh nation represented.
Thus Joel iii. begins with these expressions, “ For behold in those days, and in that time, “ when I shall bring again the captivity of Ju“ dah and Jerusalem,” to Mew that the several events detailed in that chapter shall begin to be accomplished about the time that the Jews fhall return to the land of Judea, from their dispersion.
The pointed prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon, contained in the 50th and sist chapters of Jeremiah, is blended throughout with the return of the Jews. Those two events are related in alternate ftanzas, to shew that they shall be contemporary and progressive.'
The prophecy concerning Gog and his army, laid before us in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel, is mingled with accounts of the happiness of the Jewish nation, represented as then living in their own land, in security and affluence, to shew, that the invasion of Gog shall take place a long time after their resettlement in Judea.
As the time of each remarkable circumstance respecting the Jewish nation is fixed in the Apocalypse, any of those circumstances connected with a prophecy, shews the particular place of that prophecy in the series of events, and confequently enables us to ascertain its relation to
other events, which either precede, are contem. porary with, or follow after it.
But a difficulty will readily occur in the apa plication of this rule. All the Old Testament prophets, three excepted, lived before the Babylonish captivity: When they mention the desolate state of the Jews, the question is," Whether they mean their captivity in Babylon, or their dispersion by the Romans? for both were future events, at the time the prophecy was ut. tered. And when they mention their resettlement in Judea, it is a question, Whether they understand their past return, or their future re. storation. .
In order to remove the difficulty, I would ob. serve, that all the circumstances not fulblled in the former event certainly refer to the latter. As the prophecies which are yet to be accomplished are only connected with their future restoration, the following circumstances respecting that event will occur to the attentive reader of the prophecies, and clearly distinguish it from their return from Babylon. • The ten tribes, who have had no national ex. istence since their captivity by Salmanazar, shall return together with the two tribes. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah shall form one great united nation'. ...
They (1) Ezek. xxxvii. 15–22. Jer. iii. 18. Ifa. xi. 13.
They shall be gathered from all countries and corners of the earth'; whereas formerly they returned from one country only.
They shall be thoroughly cleansed from their fins? ; whereas they brought much of their perverseness along with them from Babylon”.
They shall return under the Meffiah their Leader+.
They shall possess all the land, as in the most flourishing days of David and Solomon, and more extensively than in their time', which certainly was not the case on their return from Babylon.
Their possession of the land shall be perpetual'; whereas, after their return from Babylon, they were dispofseffed by the Romans.
Jer. xvi. 15.
Jer. xxiii. 3. and 8.
(1) Ifa. xl. 11. Jer, xxxi, 8, 9.
(2) Ifa. i, 25. Jer. xxxiii. 8. Ezek, xx. 38,
(3) Ezra ix. Neh. x.
Jer. xxiii, 5, 6. Jer. xxx, 9, Ezek.
(4) Ifa. xi, 10, xxxiv, 23, 24,
(5) Jer. xxxiii. 7. Ezek. xxxvi. 11. Ezek, xlvii, 13. -21. Obad. ver. 19, 20.
(6) Ifa. liv. 7–11. Ezek.xxxvi, 12–15. Ezek, xxxvii. 25-28.