« السابقةمتابعة »
shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the Sanctuary, and THE MOST HOLY PLACE." Ezek. xlv. 1-3. This is farther described, and its relative situation determined, in another chapter: "And by the border of Judah, from the east side unto the west side, shall be the offering which ye shall offer of five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as one of the other parts, from the east side unto the west side, and the Sanctuary shall be in the midst of it." Ezek. xlviii. 8. Concerning this it is said, "The Holy Portion of the land shall be for the priests, the ministers of the Sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the Lord; and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the Sanctuary." Ezek. xlv. 4. Another portion of equal size with that described above, is reserved for the Levites, who formerly had no inheritance : 66 And, over against the border of the priests, the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth; all the length shall be five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand. And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the first fruits of the land: for it is holy unto the Lord.” Ezek. xlviii. 13, 14. This is also confirmed in the 45th chapter; "And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth, shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers." Ezek. xlv. 5. The Division of the land into its various portions is in the following order, beginning at the north border, and descending southward: The portions of Dan, of Asher, of Naphthali, of Manasseh, of Ephraim, of Reuben, and of Judah (xlviii. 1-7); next of the Holy Portion or "Holy Oblation, four square," offered unto the Lord (xlviii. 8-22); then follow the portions of the remaining tribes, of Benjamin, of Simeon, of Issachar, of Zebulun, and of Gad." (xlviii. 23-28.) And this is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these are their portions, saith the Lord God." ver. 29. But in this Division is to be noticed another and most remarkable circumstance. Besides the ancient city of Jerusalem which is to be rebuilt, and in which the Sanctuary of the Lord is to be re-erected, particular mention is here made of another
City of nearly ten miles square, separated by the portion of the Levites, twenty miles in breadth, from that in which the Sanctuary is placed: "And the five thousand that are left in the breadth, over against the five and twenty thousand, shall be a profane place for the THE CITY, for dwelling and for suburbs, and the City shall be in the midst thereof." ver. 15. The measurements of this city with its suburbs follow, and it is added, "And the residue in length, over against the Oblation of the Holy Portion, shall be ten thousand eastward and ten thousand westward, and it shall be over against the Oblation of the Holy Portion; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve THE CITY. And they that serve THE CITY shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel." Ezek. xlviii. 15—19. These three compartments, into which the Holy Oblation is divided, consisting of two of ten thousand reeds each, in breadth, and one of five thousand, all being of equal length, render it in whole a square of fifty miles: "All the Oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand; ye shall offer the Holy Oblation four with the possession of THE CITY." Ezek. xlviii. 20.
This remarkable allotment offered to the Lord, it is to be remarked, is situated nearly in the centre of the different portions of all the tribes of Israel, "between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin," and it is said, “shall be for THE PRINCE." After describing the boundaries of the remaining five tribes of Israel, (the relative situation. of which is also different from what they were formerly,) and again adverting to the measurements of this remarkable City, with the number and names of its gates, the prophecy closes by declaring of it, that "The name of THE CITY from that day shall be, THE LORD is there.” *
ISRAEL THE MOST HIGHLY HONOURED NATION.
DEGRADED as Israel now is and has long been, when restored they shall be highly esteemed among the nations, *To some other particulars concerning this City we shall have occasion to advert in the 23d Section, on the New Jerusalem.
and perpetually enjoy the peculiar favour of God. The promises of this are numerous. And in quoting a few, it will not be necessary, on this head, to prove their reference to future times, this being universally admitted. But, being very generally claimed, like the promises of previous Sections, as the property of the entire Christian church, we must still endeavour to ascertain their rightful owner.
One of these delightful predictions is given by the prophet Isaiah: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." Is. Ixii. 1—5. Asit is the literal Jerusalem which has been termed "Forsaken," and the literal land of Israel which has been termed "De-. solate," so surely it is the literal city and land which will be " no more" so called, when this promise is fulfilled. The distinction between the Gentiles and those apostrophized by the prophet, is besides clearly expressed: "The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness." It is not therefore their own, but Jerusalem's righteousness, (as is common in all languages, the place for the people,) which the Gentiles shall see; and accordingly, the prophecy proceeds: "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace, day nor night. (Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give Him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.) The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and
praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness." ver. 6-9. That it is the literal Jerusalem (the city for the people) that is addressed, is thus more obvious. It is the literal Israel's "corn" that has been meat for their "enemies," and the wine for which they laboured have strangers drunk. It will, therefore, be in the literal Israel's better days that this shall " no more" be the case, even when the Lord shall make the now forsaken Jerusalem "a praise in the earth." And accordingly in the following verse the call is made to "prepare the way" for their restoration: "Prepare ye the way of the people." And when their highway has been cast up," and when the "stones" which impede them in their journey Zion-ward, have been removed; and when a "standard" has been elevated, around which they may rally; and when their "Salvation" shall have come, then men "shall call them, The Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord, and [again apostrophizing Jerusalem,] thou shalt be called, Sought out, [in contrast to her name during the dispersion,] a city not forsaken." ver. 11, 12.
In this bold but beautiful figure of personification the Lord again addresses Zion: "Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day nor night, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted...The sons also of those that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee The City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated; so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know
that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. 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 unto thee an everlasting light and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." Is. lx. 9-22.
There are few prophecies more frequently misapplied than this, and there are few that have a greater number of marks by which we may distinguish its proper objects. A single glance at the whole chapter is sufficient to prove its application to the literal Israel, and we have therefore quoted at some length. The prophecy abounds with beautiful figures, but they are figures having no reference to the Gentile church. Throughout, a distinction is maintained between "the Gentiles" and those to whom the prophecy immediately relates. It is figuratively addressed to Zion, as representing the people of Israel, the "sons" brought "from far." These have the attendance of the Gentiles, from whom they are clearly distinguished: "The Gentiles shall come to thy light;" and "the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee"-pointing out a perfect distinction between those coming and those to whom they do come.
• Though often overlooked, there is a wide difference between figurative language and that which is sometimes called spiritual. The former may be used for the illustration of any subject, but the power of the latter is uniformly exercised in clustering blessings of every nature (and sometimes incongruously enough) around the Gentile church. Figurative language, properly applied, is equally elegant and useful; but the end the other is frequently made to serve is only an abuse of words.