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The restoration of Israel--The long sufferings of
the Jews in the course of their return.
Ezekiel xx. 33. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretchedout arm, and with fury poured out will I rule over you. 34. And I will bring you forth from the peoples *, and I will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out. · 35. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples; and there will I plead with you face to face. 36. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. 37. And I will cause you to pass under the rod; and I will bring you under the chastisement of the covenant: 38. And I will purge out from among you the rebels't, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know, that I am the Lord. '39. As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols: yet hereafter ye shall surely hearken unto me, and ye shall not pollute my holy name any more with your gifts and with your idols. '' 40. For in my holy mountain, in the lofty mountain of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel serve me, even all of them in the land: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. 41. I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified because of you in the sight of all the nations. 42. And
* I will bring you forth from the peuples.] « I conceive this
is to be understood of the general restoration of the Jewish “ nation from the several parts of the world where they are
dispersed." Mr. Lowth in loc. + I will purge out from among you the rebels.] “ I will sepa.
rate the righteous from the wicked in order to destroy the " latter, as I did the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness." Mr. Lowth in loc.
42. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country concerning which I lifted up my hand that I would give it to your fathers. 43. And there shall ye remember your ways and all your doings wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye
have mitted. 44. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name's sake; not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God.
This prophecy is plainly confined to the last ages, by its relating, as Ezekiel expressly teaches, to the restoration of the house of Israel, of all the house of Israel: for only some scattered individuals of the ten tribes returned with Judah from Babylon. It declares, that, although God will assuredly restore the whole Hebrew nation, yet he will not fail to visit upon them their iniquities. He will plead with them in what the prophet calls the wilderness of the peoples *, as he pleaded with their fathers during the exodus from Egypt; and will purge out from among them the rebels and the transgressors.
* It is difficult to say, before the event, what precise idea we are to annex to this expression. Mr. Fraser imagines, that the Jews are to be collected into some wilderness in: Assyria; that there they are to be supernaturally taught and supported during the space of 40 years, according to the nume ber of the years which they formerly sojourned in the wilderness of Egypt; and that at length they are to issue forth in a vast body, overthrow the Antichristian faction in Palestine, and
repossess themselves of their ancient inheritance by force of arms (Key to the Prophecies, p. 259–352.). But this conjecture does not quadrate with the general tenor of other prophecies ; which, though they speak of a two-fold return of the children of Israel, uniformly represent both divisions as brought back by the instrumentality of other nations, not as returning in an independent and insulated condition (See Isaiah xviii. 2,7. Ix. 3—14. Ixvi. 19, 20.). Hence, I doubt whether Ezekiel's comparison ought to be strained so far as Mr, Fraser strains it. The idea seems to be this: that, as Isruel
From such denunciations we must necessarily infer, that the complete restoration of the whole house of Israel will be long in accomplishing, and that some of its members will suffer severely in the course of their return. Accordingly Daniel teaches us, that the Jews will begin to be restored at the close of the 1260 years, and during a period of unexampled trouble: and, by computing that a space of 75 years will intervene between the close
of the 1260 years and the commencement of the Millennium, and by dividing these 75 years into 30 years and 45 years, he seems to give some warrant to the conjecture that the 30 years will be occupied in the restoration of Judah, and the 45 years in the restoration of Israel. If this be the case, we may conclude, agreeably to the history of the exodus from Egypt which is here set forth as a type of
of old went through many hardships in the wilderness, ere they reached the promised land; so many years should elapse, and the Jews should be exposed to great sufferings, ere their future restoration shall be completed. If the wilderness of the peoples mean any particular place, it is probably some wild desolate region, some region perhaps made desulate by war (see Joel ii. 3, 20.), into which the Jews will be brought in the course of their restoration. 56 The wilderness of the peoples "may signify--some particular place or country, through " which they are to pass, in order to their return into their land.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
the yet future return of the house of Jacob from the countries of their dispersion, that but few only of the generation, that set out to return to their own land, will ever enjoy the possession of it in peace.
There is reason to think from other prophecies, that the calamities, here predicted, will chiefly, if indeed not altogether, befall Judah : for Israel as a nation will not be restored till after the destruction of Antichrist, and will be brought back with great tenderness and respect by the different peoples among which he has been scattered; whereas Judah will be restored in the very midst of the wars of Antichrist, and will suffer most severely in the struggle between the contending powers.
Nevertheless, the whole house of Jacob shall ultimately be brought back, and converted to the faith of Christ; and these signal cvents will be instrumental in causing the Lord to be sanctified in the sight of all the nations, and in spreading the kuowledge of the Gospel to the very ends of the carth.
Abp. Newcome seems inclined to apply this prediction to the return from Babylon and the subsequent events ; but he is obliged, in so doing, to resort almost entirely to conjecture; and, after all, is by no means consistent even with himself. lie supposes the desert, where God is to plead with his people, to be one between Judea and Babylon. And yet he thinks, that, by the rebels and trans