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proposed to this people, the return of Jesus (Acts iïi.) if they repented, the people in their blindness, stopped the mouths of those who made the declaration. This truth, that it is under the new covenant, and under the Messiah, that Israel will be recognised as a people, is of all importance in order to judge in these matters. We shall see that the prophets who announce the judgment by Nebuchadnezzar, pass directly from it to the coming of Christ. We shall see that, although God acted to bring matters to this point, by divers acts of ProvidenceChrist, when the blessing is established, is always in relationship with the people as a whole, and that the existence of two tribes without the ten, cannot accord with the accomplishment of the promises in Christ. He may •come from heaven to destroy the wicked one; but once united to Israel, it is to all Israel, so that there should have been the re-establishment in the promised blessing at the time of the return from Babylon, is impossible, if in that view that event is considered as a continuation of Judah alone as the people of God. We will now examine the

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which which has just been stated. That the royal authority over all the earth was conferred on Nebuchadnezzar is most clearly stated by Daniel ii. 37, 38; and even that this should continue until the setting up of the kingdom of God (ver. 38—44); which renders it impossible that Judah, during that interval, should be the people of God, recognised by Him-His government being that which we have to consider. Israel is always “ Lo Ammi” during this period.

I need not say that the royal authority was not renewed in the family of David. We no where find that the ark of the Covenant was made de novo; certainly it was not so by the command of God-and, sure it is, they could not make the tables of the law having the writing of God, which rendered the ark, the Ark of the Testimony. We have, further, the assurance that no manifestation of the glory of God, sign of his presence, took place at the time of the dedication of the second temple, as happened when the tabernacle was set up, and when the ark was introduced into the Temple of

prove that Solomon, and they sounded with the trumpets. So that the testimony and the glory of the presence of God were wanting to the ark, if so be they made one. The absence of these two things made the existence of an ark the plain proof that all that which could have given to it importance was wanting. That there was neither Urim nor Thummim is a fact also admitted by the Jews, and proved by Nehemiah vii. 65.

The absence of this mysterious token was a fact of the most serious kind, for it was thus that the High Priest bore the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually; that is to say, all that which symbolised the presence of God, and all the links established of old and which maintained the relation of the people with God were wanting, while the people them selves were subjected to the Gentiles by reason of their sin. God might come in in grace, He might send messengers to the little off-shoot of His people which found itself at Jerusalem, He might bear with the mutilated state of institutions, the exterior appearance of which was reestablished,—He might, further, send His Son,—all this He did; but He never cancelled the decree of “ Lo Ammi.” He could not do so, save by Jesus and the New Covenant, when the links of the First Covenant were broken, and Israel subjected to the Gentiles. He presented Jesus, the people would not have Him. He presented Him in the faithfulness of His promise, and it is evident that it was not according to the Old Covenant, under which Israel had been in relationship with God as a people; all was lost according to that Covenant. The New could not be established with a people who rejected its Mediator in Jesus.

There remain three things for us to consider. That which the prophets said after the captivity and that which they said before, as to the means which God would employ in order that Israel might be His people, and, then, the manner in which the New Testament presents this point. I put in the fore-front the prophets after the captivity, because we find there all that the Spirit of God could say of the strongest kind to encourage the people on their return. If in examining these passages VOL.III.PT.III.

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we find that the remnant which returned from the captivity is not in them called the people of God, we shall also understand that the other prophets and the New Testament confirm this testimony.

Let us examine Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Never once is the people returned from the captivity called, by any one of these prophets, the people of God: contrariwise, in the occasions in which one would have supposed this inevitable, this expression is not found, but they say, that they will be His people in the last days. But, in these occasions, it is Israel and Judah. Proof manifest that they were not recognised by God then as His people. Never do these prophets say on behalf of God, "My people.” Their prophecies are full of remarkable revelations on the subject of times yet to come, as also with regard to the first coming of Jesus; and they connect the blessings which are to come with the encouragements which they give for the time present; but never at the time, nor in reference to the first coming of Jesus, is the people called the people of God. While Zechariah is very plain in declaring that it will be so in the latter days, never is it said that God should dwell in the temple then, but He promises to abide there in the days yet to come. But it is after the glory that the prophet is sent to the nations who have robbed Israel: then it is said, " I will dwell in the midst of thee” (compare Zech. ii. 8—10).

It is said, “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it” (Zech. i. 16); but the promise of abiding there is reserved for another time, when the four carpenters shall have “frayed away,” and “cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up (their) horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (ver. 21).

Again, in chap. viii., it is said, “I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem" (ver. 3); but, forthwith, we find the times yet to come in which God will cause His people to come from the east and from the west, and when He will be their God. For the time present, he says, “ so again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah: fear

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not” (ver. 15). Precious encouragement! Yet leaving the abiding of

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God and the title “ of his people," as a hope for days to come, when (chap. vi. 12) “Behold the man whose name is the Branch; shall grow up out of his place;" and (ix. 13) Ephraim and Judah shall be united as the bow and the arrow of the Lord.

The promises in Haggai are temporal, and the presence of the messenger of the covenant is promised for the house, but for a time yet to come, for it is when GOD shall have shaken all nations, the heavens and the earth; a declaration which (Heb. xii. 26) makes us understand is not yet accomplished. The attentive reader of the Bible will not have failed to observe, that God constantly addresses hiinself to Judah or to the whole nation as to His people, by the prophets who spake to them before the captivity. Stronger proof one can scarcely have, that God no longer recognised Judah as His people after the captivity of Babylon, while, at the same time, he was vouchsafing to them the promise that, together with Israel, they should be His people, when He should re-establish them by means of Christ under the New Covenant. I will now examine what is the light which the prophets, who announced the judgment executed upon Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, furnish, and what is the epoch at which they declare that Israel will anew be called the people of God. They are the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. We have already seen that the Lord, weary of repenting, would reject Judah as he had rejected Israel, and that He would execute, without longer deferring (Ezek. xix. 21-28) the judgment announced. We shall, then, now see at what epoch, the prophets place the re-establishment of Judah in the enjoyment of the privilege of being the people of God.

Before clearing up this point, and examining at what moment the name of 66 my, people” is given to Israel (I say to Israel, because the two families are always united in this blessing), I will draw the attention of my reader to the solemn judgment which took place at the time of the taking of Jerusalem, which stamps its true character

upon this, and gives the true force of the term “Lo Ammi,” placed on the forehead of Judah, as well as of the whole nation, when it was led captive to Babylon, and on the import of the transfer of the throne to the midst of the Gentiles. The throne of God shows itself, and the cherubim of glory, with the wheels, the rings of which were so high, that they were dreadful to the spirit of the prophet. These wheels which were as a a wheel within a wheel. The cherubim running to and fro, according to the appearance of lightning, and the wheels in the rings were full of eyes round about.

There was the likeness of a man sitting upon a throne. This was the vision of the glory of the Lord. Then he declares to the prophet the end, “An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I bave pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Eze. vii. 2–4).

Then having set a mark upon those that sighed and cried by reason of all these abominations, he visits and smites the wicked according to the glory of His throne, beginning at His house. But a judgment yet more solemn, announced by the most significant action, awaited the rebellious city. The throne of glory, the cherubim which the prophet had seen at Chebar appeared anew at the side of the house of the Lord, whither the prophet had been carried. “ Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory" (Eze. x. 4).

Wherefore this solemn visit of the Lord to His house full of imagery and corruption? Wherefore this unwonted glory? Alas! the reason was but too soon evident. Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the house and mounted up above the cherubim. The temple is void; the glory has departed from it! In vain the cherubim of gold stretched forth their wings over a forsaken mercy-seat, and over a broken law

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