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church and as a kind, loving Father to all of her children.
Another figure under which the new-testament church is presented is that of a city. It was predicted by the prophet Isaiah, “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Isa. 26: 1. The day referred to is the gospel day. The strong city is a prediction of the new-testament church, Salvation was to be her walls and bulwarks. These were means of protection used by nations and cities in ancient times. In time of war the people would flook inside the city walls and feel secure. The people then did not have such implements of warfare as we have in modern times. The ancient city of Babylon had, it is said, a wall 350 feet in height, about 87 feet thick, and 60 miles in length. The church was to be a strong city, and one reason of her great strength was the fact that salvation would be her impregnable walls and bulwarks.
In Isa. 62: 12 the church was prophesied of in the following language:"And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” Again, in Isa. 60:18 is this prophecy: “Violence shall no more be healu in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvatation, and thy gates Praise.” Such a city the world had never seen, a spiritual city, a city made up of saved men and women, each individual constituting a house in this city. And the gates of this spiritual city are said to be praise. This signifies the songs of triumph and the shouts of victory that emanate from the people of God.
Throughout the prophecies and in the New Testament as well, Zion and Jerusalem are very often used as metaphors signifying the newtestament church. For example, “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, 0 Jerusalem the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the unclean." Such language as this could not apply to a temporal city, but can apply only to the church of God. She is here seen clothed in beautiful garments, a holy city. Under this figure, then, the purity of the church is presented. The words, “Henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean, mean that since salvation is the mode of induction into Zion, the church of God, only such are members of Zion as have been born of God (Psa. 87:5). So Zion, or Jerusalem, is composed of none other than those who are truly saved.
“Thy watchman shall lift up their voices; with the voices together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Isa. 52:8. This was true of the watchmen, or ministers, in the early morning of the Christian dispensation; but there came an apostasy, as was predicted, and that very faithful city, which was once full of judgment and righteousness, became a harlot (Isa. 1: 21). The princes became thieves, loved gifts, followed after rewards; they judged not the fatherless; they mixed the wine with water.' Isa. 1:22, 23. This refers to the condition of things during the great apostasy. The mixing of wine with water signifies adulteration of the Word of God. But the prophet also foretold the fact that the time would come when the Lord would restore the judges as at the first and the counselors as at the beginning, and that Zion should be redeemed with judgment and her converts with righteousness. And after this she was to be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city (verses 25 to 27). Thank God, we have reached that time. We are living in the fulfilment of this prophecy. God is bringing again Zion, restoring judgment to the ministry, and bringing the people of God to the pristine unity and oneness, organization and holiness, authority and power, of the early church. And as the church comes back to the same plane upon which she stood in the beginning, thank God, the language of the prophecy is being fulfilled in that the watchmen, or ministry, see eye to eye.
In Isa. 4:3, 4 we have a further prediction of this. “It shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy; even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem in the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning." Here we see that when judgment goes forth in the church in the last days, the
result will be a clean, pure, separate church, and that all left therein shall be holy.
In Joel 3:17 the same thought is presented : “So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” Thank God, we are inhabitants of that city in these last days. The people of God who long have been scattered in the filthy city of Babylon, “ that great city which reigneth over all the earth," are casting off the yokes of men and returning to Zion. Yea, “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” (Isa. 35:10). And as we return to the beautiful city of God, and dwell in the heights of Zion, God manifests his power as in the days of yore, and waters of salvation begin to flow. Yea, living waters, crystal streams of deliverance, peace, and joy, flow out to darkened hearts around us. "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." Joel 2: 32.