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Scripture with Scripture, in order to obtain its combined evidence, it has been more usual to assume that Christ will not reign personally upon earth, and then to endeavour by any means to explain all these passages, as they individually occur, consistently with the views entertained. Even with this resolution it must occasionally prove difficult really to believe that some of the preceding promises mean nothing more than the universal prevalence of holiness, and the greater effusion of the Holy Spirit, while the Redeemer
still remains in heaven. And if such an accommodation prove inadmissible, as an explanation of declarations so explicit as have been already quoted, there are others which still less admit of any spiritual interpretation. In a most important and interesting prediction clearly referring to future times, the prophet Isaiah says, “Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour ; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof; and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord ; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts. ... In that day shall Egypt be like unto women; and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of Hosts which he shaketh over it. ... In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the Land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of Hosts, in the land of Egypt; for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation;
yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord and perform it.” Is. xix. 1-21.
The connection in which the coming of the Lord here stands to the conversion of Egypt leaves no doubt of its being yet unfulfilled; while the expressions used concerning the coming of the Lord and His being sent seem only applicable to a personal coming. It is while groaning under the yoke of earthly " oppressors,” the prayer is addressed to the Lord for deliverance; when they have been given into the hand of a cruel lord,
“ and a fierce king shall rule over them." ver. 4. Their prayer is answered, for the Lord “shall send them a Suviour,” even the Lord, who shall come riding upon “a swilt cloud,” and “shall deliver them," from that oppression. How is it possible to interpret this of
any other than a personal coming of the Saviour? The manner of His coming-upon a “cloud"-corresponds exactly with the prediction given by Himself concerning his Return: "Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory :” (Luke xxi. 27.) and which was subsequently repeated by attendant angels at His ascension in the cloud : “shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him
into heaven.” (Acts i 1.) In neither of these, nor in any other New Testament prediction, have we any intimation of the place to which he shall descend ; and it is to be observed that the prediction under consideration is the ONLY ONE the Scriptures contain of the Saviour's coming in, or on, or with a cloud, or clouds, to any specific place. But if He ever come to earth again, and there are few indeed who doubt or question this,) it must be to some place. Why then disbelieve the fact, that on this swift cloud, He “shall come into Egypt ?” This was the theatre of God's early wonders in behalf of his ancient people, and His coming thither at this time is probably connected with their future deliverance. In the prophecy,“ the land of Judah" is introduced, as “a terror unto Egypt:" (ver. 17.) and in what way the cir. cumstances of Israel may yet be involved with those of Egypt, it is impossible to say. That they will be so in a great degree, is obvious from many predictions, which
it would be inconsistent with our present object to introduce.*
The prophets predict great sufferings as to be endured by the children of Israel after their Restoration to Palestine, from the attack of confederated nations. In their time of affliction and necessity, the Lord promises to manifest Himself for their succour. This is briefly but distinctly declared by the prophet Zechariah: “ Behold, the day of the Lord comeih, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain
* Moses thus concludes his prophecy of their dispersion and suffera ings : “And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spoke unto thee; (thou shalt see it no more again :) and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bond-men and bond-women, and no man shall buy you.” Deut. xxviii. 68. Although well aware that this is supposed to have been fulfilled when many of the Jews were carried into Egypt by Titus, still we appre. hend the prediction refers to future times. It stands in order posteri. or to all the threatnings of their being scattered into all nationsthey are to be brought to Egypt in ships, a mode of conveyance not adopted by Titus, so far as we remember to have noticed—they are to be sold, until men refuse to buy them; but although, after their captivity by Titus, they were employed in Egypt at the public works of the Roman government, we do not know that they were “sold” at all. There are many of the Jews still in Egypt, near eighteen hun. dred years after that captivity, but from a parenthetical clause in the prophecy of Moses we are led to conclude that
when thus brought thither in ships they shall not long continue : “ Thou shalt see it no more again.”-And that there is some connection between Israel and Egypt, at the restoration of the former, appears from many prophecies. On the consideration of these, however, we do not enter. If we be. lieve that the Lord has really been pleased to declare his purpose of coming to Egypt, in preference to anywhere else, His wisdom being infinite, his sovereignty is not to be questioned, although we may not know fully His more particular designs.
shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear nor dark; but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day nor night ; but it shall come to pass that at evening-time it shall be light.” Zech. xiv. 1-7.
This prediction is not more remarkable for the importance of its statements than for the particularity with which they are given. It has more the appearance of a narrative of past events than of a prophecy of things to come. It is really vexatious to be under a necessity of endeavouring to elucidate the meaning of language already as distinct as words can make it. It is mostifying to be compelled to insist that the Jerusalem here spoken of is the literal city of that name that it is a real attack it shall sustain, and a real capture it shall endure that “the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east" is the literal mount of that name—that it is a natural or more properly speaking a miraculous earthquake by which it shall be cleft, and a real flight by which it is followed. All this appears so obvious, that we feel puzzled how to attempt to prove it; for, if its own internal evidence cannot be received as sufficient, we should despair of ever finding any other more satisfactory. Is not that a literal city which contains “people," and "women," and "houses," and against which "nations" are gathered “to battle?" And if this be the literal “ Jerusalem,” can that be any thing else than the literal “ Mount of Olives” which is, and always has been, “before Jerusalem on the east;" If this be the literal mount, then is not that also a literal earthquake" by which it is rent,* resembling that
* At the close of next Section, we shall advert to the purpose probably designed to be served by this earthquake. It may renove a prejudice from the minds of some who cannot allow themselves to be. lieve the Word of God in its plain and obvious ineaning, unless they are previously enabled to see the utility of the designs declared, to show that, from the situation of this hill, it is necessary that through it a channel be prepared for the New River which shall flow from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea.
which took place in the days of Uzziah? And if all these be literal, What can we understand by the Lord's feet standing upon the literal Mount of Olives, but the fact of His Personal presence, His premillennial appearance to take into His own hands the government of the world?—" And the Lord shall be King over all the earth ; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” ver. 9. Nor does he come alone, but having * all the saints with thee"-the very truth declared in almost every passage in the New Testament concerning the Saviour's Return. It is no spiritual, no figurutive advent which has such an accompaniment, but the real personal coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Referring to the restoration of Israel, the Lord says, "I will set up one Shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant The BeLoveD; he shall feed them, and he shall be their Shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant The Beloven a Prince among them: I the Lord have spoken it." Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24. “ Then the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Is. xxiv. 23. Such quotations might easily be multiplied, in proof of Christ's presence on earth during the Millennium ; but we shall now allude to only one other point of evidence: The prophet Ezekiel having seen the measurement taken of
*In his “ Fall of Babylon,” (p. 44,) Mr. Mason quotes the above passage as the account of a literal, or “natural earthquake;" bui in his Gentiles' Fulness, (p. 201,) combating the opinion that this coming of the Lord with all His saints is His personal advent, he unhesitatingly rejects the interpretation he had himself thus given, and denies that the earthquake is to be" literally understood." This way of explaining the ancient predictions, he there says, (forgetting his own recorded explanation,) “must be rejected as a very false interpretation of Scripture, and as an unwarrantable and dangerous way of exhibiting Divine operations.” Putting consistency out of the question, is there not, we would ask, something both “unwarrantable and dangerous,” in thus moulding Divine predictions to our taste or convenience ?