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the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the A noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
“ Mount Zion, and the hill thereof," may, perhaps, signify the whole Christian community, both Jews and Gentiles.
Ver. 5. As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem ; defending also he will deliver it; and k passing over he will preserve it.
The skill and power of birds on the wing are so worthy of admiration, that this becomes a very expressive representation of the Lord's protection of his people, for whom we believe Jerusalem to be here, as on many other occasions, the symbol.
Ver. 6, 7. Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his 1 idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
This passage gives us the assurance, that not only the children of Israel, but the Gentile people of God shall generally abandon idolatry; neither shall they any longer idolize their gold, or rather, the possessions and power which it confers; or thereby seek unlawful gain to the injury of their neighbours.
Ver. 8, 9. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but be shall flee from (or, for fear of the sword, and his young men shall be u discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, (Heb. his rock shall pass away for fear; or,
0 Or, “ multitude."
« Or, as Bishop Lowth renders, “ leaping” (or, springing) “ forward.”
1 Heb. “ the idols of his gold.
u Or, “ tributary." Heb." for melting,” or, “ tribute.”
his strength,) and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
The Assyrian shall not be conquered by the sword of the mighty, but shall flee,-fearing the operation of “ the word of God;” and his young men,--the strongest of his forces shall be subdued by, and become tributary to its power. His strength shall subside, and his princes shall fear the consequences of a farther resistance to the bearers of that ensign,—that mighty standard of truth, which the doctrines of a crucified Redeemer shall speedily erect throughout the world.
FINAL RESTORATION AND CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.
ESCAPE from impending danger, or, relief from protracted suffering, is highly calculated to excite our gratitude to the Supreme Being. Yet the happiness experienced on such occasions is often impaired by further trials, and by the uncertainty of exemption from their frequent recurrence.
Such a consideration will better enable us to conceive how great will be the “ joy and gladness of heart” of the pious Israelites on the certain termination of all their sufferings from the persecution, the oppression, the reproach and contumely of the world. Added to this, will be the repossession of their ancient and long lost possessions.
“ Lo, thy Sun is risen in glory!
God himself appears thy friend ;
All thy warfare now is past;
All thy conflicts
End in everlasting rest !". A wide field, "the field of the world,"—is now opened to their energies, universally to announce the glad tidings of salvation ; and that, as it would appear, without any farther political obstructions. Promises and encouragements are vouchsafed them. They will be "clad with the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left;" they will possess“ the spirit and fulness of Christ,” and be blessed with extraordinary effusions of his grace. Moreover, the happiest intercourse will be established between them and their converted Gentile brethren; and angels will now rejoice over many repentant sinners.
During the periods to which we have referred in our search after prophetic truth, it will be uniformly perceived “that the wages of sin is death !”-death to whole communities,-to armies,—and almost the entire population of kingdoms! How dreadful to contemplate its murderous nature, which, notwithstanding the triumphant victories of grace, will continue to blind its still numerous and deluded votaries against every demonstration of Heaven's avenging justice, and the brightest displays of Christian example!
God's judgments on his people being wholly accomplished, by the invasion of Gog, it is rendered probable from prophecy that the continuance of peace will cause a very general decay of piety, if not an open relapse into ungodliness amongst the numerous outward professors of religion. This is fully intimated by our Lord: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?”—For they shall be “as in the days of Noah and Lot, eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage,” &c. “They bought, they sold, they builded, they planted,” &c.
Some may imagine that a few of the following passages pertain more strictly to the Millennium; but the righteous remnant of Israel, as well as the converted of the Gentiles, will not only remain steadfast and immoveable, but greatly progress in the life of grace; while many of the outward worshippers will relinquish even the profession of piety.
“It appears from the prediction of our Lord and his apostles, that a remarkable mixture of disquietude and peace, agitation and underground movements, yet with freedom from external warfare, and full engagements in the works of outward tranquillity, shall mark the very time that our Lord shall come. (Compare Luke xvii. 26–31 ; XXI. 25, 27 ; Matt. xxi. 36–39; 1 Thess. v. 2, 3.) Were it not,' says Mr. Cunningham, that we see both sides of the prophetic picture, exhibited in the events of the very time in which we live, it would be difficult to conceive the possibility of reconciling things apparently so opposite as a state of terror, dismay, and agitation, on the one hand; and on the other, one of peace. But no attentive observer of the signs of these times will deny that we see before our eyes both these states of mind.'"*
Let us also observe, (as will hereafter be considered,) that the conflagration of the earth will not obstruct the preservation of the righteous, who will be prepared for their expected change ; so that we may warrant the application of the following passages to them at this time. However, it must be allowed to be very difficult to draw the precise line of separation between the prophecies which immediately precede, and those which commence with the Millennial kingdom. We would refrain from expressing any degree of confidence on this subject, and pursue the course which appears to be most natural and consistent.
Joel 11. 21, 22. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice : for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the