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and the other succeed it; since consequently it will not begin to act till the close of the Millennium; since we find it composed of the relics of the three first empires, the lives of which Daniel declares shall be preserved after the overthrow of the Roman beast, and therefore during the Millennium, for there is no other period during which they can be preserved if they be preserved beyond the destruction of the Roman beast; since St. John predicts, that, at this very era, namely the close of the Millennium, when we may expect the expedition of Ezekiel's Gog and Magog to be undertaken, a şimilar expedition will be undertaken by a confederacy which he similarly terms Gog and Magog, and that too from the regions marked out by Ezekiel, the four quarters of the earth; and lastly, since both Ezekiel and St. John agree, that each expedition will totally. fail of success, and that the respective Gog and Magog of each will be miraculously destroyed by fire from heaven: when the whole argument in short is considered in all its bearings, what conclusion can we arrive at, except that the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel are the Gog and Magog of St. John?
Having now sufficiently anticipated any objections that might have been made, so far as Gog and Magog are concerned, to my proposed interpretation of the present prophecy, I shall proceed to discuss it at large. And here I apprehend, the parallel prediction of St. John will be found of 7
essential use, inasmuch as it treats of the same events in precisely the same order. difference indeed between the two prophets is this: Ezekiel peculiarly directs our attention to the children of Israel, and connects the history of their restoration with the successive confederacies of Antichrist and Gog and Magog, the one previous to the commencement of the Millennium, the other at its close ; whereas St. John, writing the prophetic history of the church in general, does not notice the Jews otherwise than as involved in that church, but simply gives us an account of the overthrow first of the Roman Antichristian confederacy, and afterwards of the Magogian confederacy.
I consider the whole of Ezekiel from the 34th to the 39th chapter inclusive, as one continued prophecy: for, if we attempt to divide these evidently connected chapters from each other, where shall we draw the line? where shall we say that the one prophecy ends, and that the other begins ?
Ezekiel first notices the dispersion of Israel through the tyranny of their shepherds or rulers, who, after grinding their faces and treating them in all respects as a conquered and debased people, instead of ruling them with gentleness and consulting their political happiness, at length became instruments in the hand of God of dispersing them through all countries. From these shepherds, or (in literal exactness of speech) from their suçcessors and representatives the powers of the Roman empire in its last or broken form, God, at the time of the end, will require his flock. He will set his face against these tyrannical shepherds, who have so long persecuted his scattered people, and will cause them to cease from feeding the flock. He will not suffer them to feed themselves any more, or to harrass, like their Roman predecessors, the wretched Jews with endless extortion and oppression : but he will deliver his flock from their mouth that they may be no more meat for them: As soon as the appointed period shall arrive, he will search his sheep, and bring them back into their own land from all the countries whither they have been dispersed. He will feed them in a good pasture upon the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places : and will set up one shepherd over them, the mystical David, even Christ the Lord.
cessors * See Zechar. xii. 9-14.
At this era however of their first restoration, or the restoration of Judah, the prophet notices a remarkable distinction in the flock, which will serve to explain an-apparent contradictoriness of some prophecies to others. We are generally led to conclude, that the Jews will be converted previous to their restoration, but Zechariah undoubtedly speaks of their being converted after it * How then are we to reconcile this discrepancy? Ezekiel teaches us, that at the time of the restoration God will judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he-goats. He will make a marked distinction between the fat cattle *, and between the lean cattle; between those that trample down the pastures and foul the waters, and between those who are constrained to eat what is trodden down and to drink what is fouled ; between those that push with the shoulder and thrust with the horn, and between the weak who are scattered abroad by this unnatural cruelty of their fellows. Yet both these different descriptions of cattle are equally considered as the flock; and are placed in contradistinction to the beasts of the earth, or the tyrannical Roman powers under the influence of Antichrist and the false prophet. By the goats therefore we must obviously understand certain unconverted Jews; and by the rams, such as arc converted. Now it manifestly appears from the tenor of the prophecy, that both the rams and the goats will equally return to Palestine; and that, when they have thus returned, there will be a bitter dissention between them, the goats labouring by all possible means to injure and expel the rams. It further appears from other prophecies, that the rams or converted Jews will be restored by the instrumentality of the then prevailing protestant European maritime power; and that Antichrist and his host will at that period invade Palestine, and occupy Jerusalem.
.אשמיד for the common reading אשמר the strong; substituting
Abp. Newcome translates Chap. xxxiv. ver. 16. I will keep the fat and the strong, instead of I will destroy the fat and
; . This alteration appears to me very injudicious, for the prophet is plainly distinguishing between the fat and the strong and the lean and the feeble. Accordingly the distinction in question is afterwards pointed out again, and the reasons for making it are stated at large. See ver. 20. and ver. 17—23. But his grace's alteration entirely destroys the distinction; and, as it seems to me, materially injures, instead of improving, the sense of the passage.
Thus we learn, from comparing these several prophecies with each other, that four different descriptions of persons will then he collected together in Palestine: the great maritime power; the converted Jews; the Antichristian confederacy; and the unconverted Jews. The converted Jews we know will be restored by the agency of the maritime power : and how are we to account for the appearance of the unconverted Jews, at the same time, in the same country, and in direct opposition to their converted brethren, except by supposing that they are in league with Antichrist, and have been brought back into their own land for political purposes by his instrumentality? In the dreadful conflict many of the goats will perish; for God hath declared, that he will destroy the fat and the strong : many also of the rams will be slain; for God hath taught us, that, although he will surely chasten bis people in exact measure, yet he will not make a full end of them, as he will of the nations their enemies. But at