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the spiritual metropolis of the kingdom of the Lamb. All nations shall flow unto it, and it shall be exalted above the hills. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
PROPHECY XXIII. 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 rode; and I will bring you under the chastisement of
* I will bring you forth from the peoples.] “ 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.
the covenant: 38. And I will purge out from among you the rebels *, 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, () 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 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
* 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.
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 committed. 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.
COMMENTARY. 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 his people, yet he will not fail to visit upon them their iniquities. He will plead with them in the wilderness, as he pleaded with their father's during the exodus from Egypt; and will purge out from among them the rebels and the transgressors.
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 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
There is reason to think from other prophecies, that the calamities, here predicted, will chiefly, if indced 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 events will be instrumental in causing the Lord to be sanctified in the sight of all the nations, and in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.
Abp. Newcome seems inclined to apply this prc. diction to the return froin Babylon and the subs sequent 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. He supposes the desert, where God is to plead with his people, to be one between Judéa and Babylon. And yet he thinks, that, by the rebels and transgressors, those are intended, “who, after the mur“ der of Gedaliah, went into Egypt, called here “ the land of their sojourning. Some of these “ were to be carried into Chaldea with the capo tive Egyptians *; though the greater part were “ to be consumed f. Some of the obstinately re« bellious Jews might also sojourn in other neigh• bouring countries subdued by Nebuchadnezzar, “ as Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Tyre; and might " thence be taken into captivity.” The prophet however is surely speaking of those, who should perish in the course of their being brought back out of the various countries of their dispersion into their own land; not of certain Jews, who were destroyed in Egypt, while others were led away captive into Chaldèa. They are plainly to perish while returning from captivity, not while going into captivity. Nor is this all. His Grace very justly interprets the 41st verse to mean, that the nations shall consider the Lord as a great and