Page images

symbol. These, as the event has shown, have been removed in various portions and at various times. And after great changes, and revolutions, and torrents of blood have been shed, and many pillars of smoke have arisen, as the signals of devastation, the sun and the moon, the imperial and delegated authorities of the Roman world, are not yet extinct. Connected, however, with their final extinction, as we have learned before, is the coming of the promised Redeemer in his majesty.

But during all this period — from the day of the outpouring of the Spirit unto “ this great and terrible day”— is the gracious dispensation of the Gospel of Christ described as follows:

32. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the

name of Jehovah shall be delivered,
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be a deliverance,

as Jehovah hath said ;
And among a remnant whom Jehovah shall call.

“ Shall be deliverance,” or, “ that which shall escape from the common destruction ;” and not only shall this take place in Zion, but also among a number of "survivors” from a common destruction among the Gentile nations. So St. Paul applies this text, in the tenth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. Here, then, is a plain prediction of the Gospel call, and of the salvation of a remnant of all nations, in the midst of a troubled and unsettled world ; and such is the present dispensation of the kingdom.

There follows in order a prediction as plain of the restoration of the Jews, and of all the wonders consequent thereon, which have been so often the theme of prophecy:


1. For, behold, in those days and at that time, When I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jeru

salem, 2. That I will assemble all the nations,

And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there respecting

my people and my inheritance, Israel, Whom they scattered among the nations, and have divided

my land; 3. Ay, they cast lots for my people, and gave a boy for food,!

And sold a damsel for wine to drink.

The valley of Jehoshaphat is, by some, supposed to be the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives : others suppose an allusion to the signification of the word Jehoshaphat, “ Jehovah judgeth,” and that it may signify any valley which shall be the scene of the awful visitation.

Who “ all the nations” are, that scattered Israel and divided their land, is sufficiently plain : the enemy from Chittim, the nations of the Roman world. They carried the remnant of Israel into their last captivity, and they are every where spoken of as the objects of this last judgment.

The prophecy proceeds to complain of the conduct of some neighbouring nations at the season of Israel's calamity, who acted on a principle of revenge, and would expose themselves to the vengeance of the God of Israel :

4. And what have ye also to do with me, O Tyre and Sidon,

And all the borders of Palestine?

,זתה See Simon in י

Are ye for making retaliation upon me?
But if ye make retaliation upon me,
Soon and swiftly will I bring your retaliation on your own

head. 5. For ye took my silver and my gold, And brought my beautiful and precious things into your

mansions :

6. And the sons of Judah, and the sons of Jerusalem,

Ye sold to the sons of the Grecians,

That ye might remove them far off from their borders. 7. Behold, I will raise them up from the place,

Whither ye bave sold them,

And I will bring again your retaliation on your own head : 8. And I will sell your sons and your daughters

Into the hands of the sons of Judah;

And they shall sell them to the Sabeans,
Unto a nation afar off:
Surely Jehovah hath spoken.

If we are right in our application, this “ retaliation” refers to something yet to come.

It may mean the removal of the inhabitants of these countries, to make room for the restored Israelites. The expression to sell," we may observe, is frequently used by the sacred writers in a figurative sense. May not this have some connexion with what is predicted respecting Tyre, Psalm xlv., and Isaiah, xxiii. 18?

9. Proclaim ye


the nations;
Sanctify war, rouse the valiant,

Let all the warlike men draw near and come up. 10. Beat your ploughshares into swords,

And your pruning hooks into spears ;
Let the weak say, I am strong.

11. Assemble yourselves and come, all ye nations, around, Ay, collect yourselves there where Jehovah is about to lay

low thy mighty one.'
12. Let the nations be roused, and come up

Unto the valley of Jehoshaphat.
For there will I sit to judge

The whole of the nations around.
13. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Come, get ye down,' for the press is full,

The vats overflow; surely their wickedness was great! 14. Multitudes! multitudes ! in the valley of Executed Justice;' Surely the day of Jehovah is near, in the valley of Executed


The vision seems to view the assembled nations gathering on the ominous spot, and predicts that the judgment decreed is just going to be executed. We have learned before, whose armies these are, and what is the great revolution, so often foretold, which is to take place at the same time:- *

The sun and the moon are darkened,
And the stars withdraw their shining.

This is effected, as has been often so remarkably expressed before, by the uttering of Jehovah's voice.

[blocks in formation]

age, with its trodden wino-press, is the symbol of judgment.

Or, « of decision of judg. ment.” Compare Arab.

u “ secuit, acie secante usus est, functus est aliqua re studio intentissimo,” &c.


3 The corn-harvest, it will appear hereafter, is a symbol of gathering out the elect: the vint

* Isaiah, xxxiv. 4 ; li. 16; Ixv. 17, &c.

The term "roar” sounds not well in our language; but in the circumstances in which the Hebrew language was formed, it expresses by no means any thing low or coarse: it contains evidently an allusion to the threatening noise of the lion when he is up in search of his prey, or is in the act of springing upon it. In this point of view, it is a striking metaphor of divine vengeance just ready to burst forth on the assembled multitudes in the valley of Jehovah's judgment.

16. And Jehovah shall roar from Zion,

And will utter his voice from Jerusalem ;
And the heavens and the earth shall shake;
But Jehovah will be a refuge for his people,

And a strong hold for the sons of Israel.
17. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, your Elohim,

Dwelling in Zion, the hill of my sanctuary.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
And strangers shall pass through her no more.

We have here, then, a clear prediction of the personal reign of Jehovah, the Messiah, over the nation of Israel, where he fixes the throne of his kingdom, his sanctuary among men. The abundant fertility of soil in these happy days is again described :

18. And it shall come to pass in that day,

That the mountains shall distil wine,
And the hills shall


forth milk;
And all the channels of Judah shall pour forth water,
And there shall go forth a fountain from the house of

And shall water the valley of Shittim.

[ocr errors]

This seems both a description of the restored fruitfulness



« PreviousContinue »