« السابقةمتابعة »
When Zion's "sons" are brought "from far," they shall bring their silver and their gold with them." This accords with other predictions concerning their restoration, but it is sometimes applied to the converts to Christianity consecrating their wealth to the service of the Lord. But although this is a duty to which believers are bound to at, tend, it has nothing to do with the prediction before us. The sons of Zion are not merely to bring their wealth with them, but they are themselves to be brought; and that by a conveyance, the mere mention of which should be sufficient to prevent its ever being applied to the Gentile church: "and the ships of Tarshish first to bring thy sons from far." ver. 9. "Ships," while perfectly suited, and really requisite, for the restoration of Israel from many of the lands into which they have been scattered, are quite unnecessary as a mode of admission to the fellowship of the church. Farther, it was the literal Israel, and not the church, whom God "smote" in His " wrath;" it was the literal Israel whom the nations "afflicted" and "despised," who were "forsaken" and "hated;" and to them, in happy contrast to their past and present state, does the promise apply: "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land; wasting nor destruction within thy borders." ver. 18. And as their being brought "from far," accords with the predictions contained in preceding Sections, so also with these do the promises harmonize that Israel "shall be all righteous," and that "they shall inherit the land for ever;" and that they shall be greatly multiplied: "A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation." May the Lord hasten it in His time!"
With such numerous checks, it is surprising that any of God's people should seek to alienate the prophecy from those to whom it has been given. The promises are conceived to be too great, and the prediction too sublime, to refer to the debased, despised, oppressed, and infidel Hebrews. But God's ways are not as our ways, nor His thoughts as ours. Of the aggravation of their past and present guilt, man cannot form so correct an estimate as the Holy Spirit, and none can speak more decidedly the language of its just condemnation than does the word of God. Yet, for His own glory, Jehovah hath "chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation." He will yet
"clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy." (Ps. cxxxii. 13-16.) It is not to apostate Israel, but to Israel reclaimed from the error of their ways, that such abundant glory is reserved. When they shall obtain external homage, they shall be possessed of internal grace. The prophecy itself declares that their "people shall be all righteous;" and to the period of their conversion does the apostle Paul also place its fulfilment, while he gives the whole weight of his inspired testimony to the legitimacy of its application to the literal Israel. The verses quoted form part of a prediction which is continued from the preceding chapter, the conclusion of which, (slightly accommodated, being quoted from the Greek translation of the Seventy,) the apostle adduced to the Romans, applying it directly to the literal Israel: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, [how much needed, and how much neglected is the admonition now!] that blindness in part is happened To ISRAEL, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, [Is. lix. 20.] There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Rom. xi. 25—27. Here the apostle, expressly drawing a distinction between the Hebrews and the Gentiles-a distinction unequivocally maintained throughout his argument-proves his position, concerning the future national salvation of Israel, by the quotation of a portion of the very prophecy we have already been considering. But had that prophecy been given in promise to the Gentile church, rather than concerning the literal Israel, who had then been “broken off because of unbelief," its evidence would have been altogether inadmissible. The apostle's proof would be at once rendered worthless by such a supposition. His argument evidently rests upon the fact of the prediction referred to having been given in favour of those whose "fall" was "the riches of the world," and "the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles;”—which fall shall continue "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in," or till the close of the present Gentile dispensation.
Higher sanction cannot be required in favour of the in
terpretation already given of the above sublime prediction, as applicable to the Hebrew nation; to whom, we have seen, it is absolutely limited by the language of the prophecy itself. And we are thus admonished of the error of transferring to the Gentile church blessings pronounced on Israel. In general, the slightest examination of the context is sufficient to show to whom any prophecy refers; and this is particularly the case in the predictions concerning the honour which Israel shall obtain after their restoration. We quote another, parts of which are subjected to the same misapplication so often noticed: "I will make all my mountains a way," saith the Lord, "and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers, and they that made thee waste, shall go forth of thee. Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people : and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daugh
ters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursingmothers they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me." Is. xlix. 11-23.
In the preceding Sections, it has been fully shown who they are, that, at the commencement of the Millennium, shall come "from the north, and from the west, and from the land of Sinim." It has been also ascertained, to what Zion it has been said, "thy children shall make haste;" that it is that Zion which the destroyers have so long. made "waste;" she who yet complains, "I have lost [by dispersion] my children, and am desolate." It is the same Zion whose " sons and daughters" are brought to their own land,—brought by friendly "Gentiles." The pen of Inspiration here clearly draws the distinction so often overlooked by those interpreters who refer such predictions to the Gentile church: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy [Zion's] sons, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders"- -a beautiful figure of the tender and affectionate solicitude which believing Gentiles shall yet feel in the interests of God's ancient people, and the assistance they shall render in their restoration. The figure is still continued in language which proves that the restora tion of Israel to their land, will, at a future time, in some countries at least, become an object of royal concern; and that the homage of the rulers of nations, in their official capacity, shall be presented to them: "Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and queens thy nursing-mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet." What a change must be effected in the minds of men, when the Lord shall have "turned again the captivity of Zion !"-when, instead of being spoiled evermore," Israel shall "eat the riches of the Gentiles"-when, instead of their "old desolations,* "the sons of strangers shall build up their walls"-when, instead of the oppression and tyranny they everywhere experience," the nation and kingdom that will not serve them shall perish."
The assistance rendered by Gentiles to Israel in returning to their own land is beautifully recognized in Scripture Prophecy as a service done to God, and they themselves are acknowledged as a "present" to Him. "In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, (and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto,) a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion," Is. xviii. 7. The "time" referred to in the context is one of great commotion and distress; a period deeply interesting to" ALL the inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth." ver. 3. In this time of awful trouble shall the restoration of Israel take place. (Dan. i. 1, 2.) They shall be aided in their return by others. The love of a mighty people shall be excited in their behalf; the love of a Christian people, for they shall bring Israel as a present" unto the Lord"- -even literal Israel, the people who have been "scattered and peeled." They shall bring them not merely into the fellowship of the church, but to a particular place,- -"the place of the name of the Lord of hosts," which place is "the Mount Zion."
"And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers. But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord; men shall call you the priests of our God; ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves," Isa. lxi. 4-6. In these verses it is evident, that those thus honoured are not Gentiles, but a people distinguished from them. They shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, but are themselves that people who, in Scripture Prophecy and in Gospel narrative alike, are contrasted with them. They are those whose "waste cities" need to be repaired, and whose "former desolations" require to be raised, "even the desolations of many generations." When again they shall possess their land in peace and in security, and when blessed with the forgiveness and especial favour of God, Gentiles shall willingly be their servants in tending their flocks, in cultivating their fields, and in dressing their vine