This is html page #2 of 4 for the book: Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology, Selected from the Manuscripts of William Miller. Note: "A.M." stands for "Anno Mundo", means age of the world - since creation.
If this Chronology is not correct, I shall despair of ever getting from the Bible and history, a true account of the age of the world. At any rate, I shall rest satisfied here, and wait the event time will determine. As it respects the text in 1Kings vi. 1, it cannot be reconciled with the history of the Judges and the statement of St. Paul; I have therefore followed two witnesses instead of one. As it respects Samuel, I have no doubt of as long a period as 21 years; but it may possible have exceeded 24 years.
A DISSERTATION ON
WHEN we read in divine inspiration a class of texts like the following, Acts iii. 20, 21, "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began;" verse 24, "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days;" - again, in Acts xvii. 26, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" and 31st verse, "Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead;" Amos iii. 7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets;" - I say no man can read these texts, and the like, of which the Scriptures abound, without being convicted that God has set bounds, determined times, and revealed unto his prophets the events long before they were accomplished; and having thus revealed himself, has never failed in time and manner to fulfil all things which, by his prophets, have been spoken or written. He has in his word revealed the times in different ways: sometimes in plain language, by telling the exact number of years; at other times, by types, as the year of release, the jubilee, and the Sabbaths; in other places by figurative language, by calling a year a day, or a thousand years a day; again by analogy, as in Hebrews iv. 10, showing, that as God created the heavens and earth, and all that are in them, in six days, and rested on the seventh, so Christ would be six thousand years creating the new heavens and earth, and would rest on the seventh millennium. I will now present a few cases where time has been revealed in the above manner, and fulfilled so far as present time will allow.
I. IN PLAIN LANGUAGE, BY YEARS, MONTHS, OR DAYS, AS THE CASE MAY BE.
1. Seven days before the flood began, and the forty days the rain continued, were prophesied of, and literally fulfilled. See Genesis vii. 4. "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights." These days were literal days, and so fulfilled. Verses 10 and 12: "And it came to pass after the seventh day that the waters of the flood were upon the earth." "And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
2. Abraham was informed by God, that his seed should be afflicted in a strange land four hundred years, which, including his sojourn, would make 430 years. Gen. xv. 13. This was literally accomplished. See Exodus xii. 40, 41.
3. The butler's and baker's dreams were interpreted to mean three days, by Joseph, and were exactly fulfilled. See Gen. xl. 12-20.
4. The dream of Pharaoh, as explained by Joseph, meaning seven years' plenty and seven years' famine, was literally completed. See Gen. xli. 28-54.
5. The forty years in the wilderness were prophesied and fulfilled literally. See Num. xiv. 34. Josh. v.6.
6. Three years and a half Elijah prophesied that there would be no rain, and there was none until the time was finished. 1 Kings xvii. 1. James v. 17.
7. Isaiah prophesied that within sixty-five years Ephraim should be broken, so that they should not be a people, Isa. vii. 8; and in sixty-five years they were broken and carried away by Esarhaddon, king of Babylon, B.C. 742-677.
8. The seventy years' captivity prophesied of by Jeremiah, Jer. xxv. 11, were fulfilled between B.C. 596 and 526.
9. Nebuchadnezzar's seven times were foretold by Daniel, and fulfilled in seven years. See Daniel iv. 25 and Josephus.
10. The seventy weeks which Gabriel informed Daniel would "finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy," which Daniel had before of the four kingdoms of the earth, that should finally be destroyed by the kingdom of the "stone cut out without hands," and "to anoint the Most Holy." Who can read this prophecy of the seventy weeks, and the history of Ezra, Nehemiah, the Jews, Romans, John and Jesus Christ, and not be convicted of its exact fulfilment in 490 years? And I would ask, how can it be possible that men who believe the Bible, and who have seen the exact fulfilment of all prophetic chronology thus far, can say with any degree of propriety these seventy weeks are indefinite? Where are their proofs? Not on the records of divine inspiration. For, here we find no sample. Here is no time given, that has not been literally fulfilled according to the true intent and meaning of the prophecy. Why not, then, settle this one point forever, among believers in the divine authority of the Scriptures: that the chronology of prophecy is to be received with an equal faith with the chronology of history? Why not believe the declarations of God concerning the future, as we do concerning the past? Who denies that God created the heavens and the earth, and all that were in them, in six days? None but the Infidel, say you. What better then is he who denies that God will accomplish what he has said he would perform in a given period? Well may the Infidel charge home upon us hypocrisy, when we refuse to believe the latter as well as the former.
All these cases which I have brought forward as proof of prophetic chronology were once prophecies; and would it have been right in Noah, the patriarchs, and prophets, to have rejected the time given, any more than the manner? I answer, it could not have been faith to have rejected either. Then let us have faith to believe the chronology of the future, as well as of the past.
The seventy weeks were evidently fulfilled in the year A.D. 33, beginning 457 years B.C., at the going forth of the commandment to Ezra to restore the law and the people to Jerusalem. See Ezra vii. 10-13. I need not stop to argue this point, as very few can be found who have the hardihood to deny the seventy weeks as being a definite time. One reason, out of the many, may be here presented. Why should the man Gabriel be so particular in defining the beginning and the end of the seventy weeks, if indefinite time only is meant? And why did he name the events so particularly, as to divide the seventy into three very unequal parts, and yet in all three parts include the whole? Surely, no mortal can account for this agreement of numbers, and yet call it indefinite. There was much more ambiguity in the prophecy to Abraham, concerning his seed sojourning in a strange land four hundred years, (see Gen. xv. 13, 14,) than in this of the 70 weeks. Yet that was exactly accomplished on the self-same day predicted. Exod. xii. 41. And, in me, it would be the very height of folly to believe otherwise concerning these 70 weeks of years, than as an exact fulfilment, on the self-same day. God has not changed, that he will not be as particular now as in the days of Abraham. He surely will; and when men, through cowardice or unbelief, charge God with thus tampering with his word, they must, sooner or later, find it to their cost to make such a solemn charge.
II. I WILL NOW BRING FORWARD SOME PROPHECIES WHICH REMAIN TO BE FULFILLED, OR WHICH HAVE RECENTLY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED.
1. Moses' prophecy of the scattering of the people of God among all nations "seven times;" see Levit. xxvi. 14-46. It is evident that these "seven times" were a succession of years, for their land was to lie desolate as long as they were in their enemies' land. And the people of God have been scattered, and are now a scattered and a peeled people. These "seven times" are not yet accomplished, for Daniel says, "When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people all these things shall be finished." The resurrection and judgment will take place. Dan. xii. 6, 7: "And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half: and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
What did the angel mean by time, times, and a half? I answer, he meant three years and a half prophetic, or forty-two months, as in Rev. xi. 2, and xiii. 5; or 1260 prophetic days, as in Rev. xi. 3, and xii. 6 and 14. He meant the one half of "seven times." Daniel saw the same thing as Moses, only to Daniel the time was divided. He was informed that the little horn would "speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time, times, and the dividing of time." This makes Moses' seven times, for twice three and a half are seven, and twice 1260 are 2520 common years. But you may inquire, are not these two things the same in Daniel? I answer, no. For their work is different, and their time of existence is at different periods. The one scatters the holy people; the other wears out the saints. The one means the kingdoms which Daniel and John saw; the other means Papacy, which is called the little horn, which had not come up when the people of God were scattered by Babylon and the Romans. The first means literal Babylon or the kings of the earth, the other means mystical Babylon or Papacy. And both together would scatter the holy people and wear out the saints "seven times," or 2520 years.
Moses tells us the cause of their being scattered. Levit. xxvi. 21: "And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me." Jeremiah tells us when this time commenced. Jer. xv. 4 to 7: "And I will cause them to be removed (scattered) into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem. For thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward; therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee. I am weary with repenting. And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways." We have the same cause assigned by Jeremiah as was given by Moses, and the same judgments denounced against his people, and the time is here clearly specified when these judgments began, "in the days of Manasseh." And we find in 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9-11, that for this same crime they were scattered. "Wherefore the Lord spake to Manasseh and to his people, but they would not hearken. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the kings of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters and carried him to Babylon." Here then began the "power (their king) of the holy people to be scattered." This year, also, the ten tribes were carried away by Esarhaddon, king of Babylon, and Isaiah's sixty-five years were fulfilled when Ephraim was broken. This was in the year B.C. 677. The seven times are 2520; take 677 from which, and it leaves 1843 after Christ, when "all these things will be finished." You may wish to know how the "time, times, and a half" are divided. I answer, the Babylonians bear rule over Israel and Judah 140 years, Medes and Persians 205 years, the Grecians 174 years, and the Romans before the rise of Papacy 696 years; making in all of the four kingdoms 1215 years that the people of God were in bondage to the kings or rulers of these kingdoms. Then Papacy began her time, times and a half, which lasted until 1798, being a period of 1260 years; which added to the 1215 years of the kings, before mentioned, make 2475 years; wanting 45 years to complete the "seven times." And then the kings of the earth must consume the papal power and reign 45 years to complete the "seven times;" which added to 1798, when the last of the ten kings broke loose from the power of Papacy, and again exercised their kingly power, (see the holy alliance, Rev. xvii. 16 to 18. Dan. vii. 12,) ends 1843. Dan. xii. 7 to 13. Thus this 45 years accomplishes the "time, times, and a half," which the kingdoms of the earth were to exercise their authority in, "scattering the power of the holy people," being 1260 years. And Papacy, or mystical Babylon, accomplished her "time, times, and the dividing of time," being 1260 years, between A.D. 538 and 1798, in "wearing out the saints of the Most High and thinking to change times and laws." And both together make 2520 years, beginning before Christ 677, which taken out of 2520, leaves 1843 after Christ, when captive Zion will go free from all bondage, even from death, and the last enemy conquered, the remnant out of all nations saved, the New Jerusalem completed, the saints glorified.
The next prophetic number to which we shall attend, will be Daniel viii. 14. "Unto 2300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed, or justified." After Daniel had seen three visions, two of them including the whole "seven times," he sees under his last vision but the three last kingdoms, Persia, Grecia and Rome. He then hears a saint speaking, and another saint inquiring for how long time this last vision should be. Daniel was then informed, that it should be unto 2300 days. He afterwards heard a voice commanding Gabriel to make him (Daniel) understand the vision. He came and told him, that the vision would carry him to the end of all indignation, and at the time appointed (2300 days) the end would be. Gabriel then named two of the three kingdoms, i.e. Persia and Grecia, and described the Roman by its acts. Then he left Daniel to consider of the vision. Fifteen years afterwards, while Daniel was praying, Gabriel came to him again, and told Daniel he had come to make him understand the vision. Then he gives him the 70 weeks, and tells him plainly that the 70 weeks would seal (or make sure) the vision and prophecy. Here he gave him a clue to know when his vision of the ram and he-goat began. He tells Daniel plainly, and shows how those who should live after the 70 weeks were fulfilled, might know his prophecy to be true, and what they might understand by days in this vision. If, then, the 70 weeks were a part of the vision of the ram and he-goat, and given, as it is evident, for the express purpose of showing the beginning of the vision, it remains a simple problem. If 490 days were fulfilled in the year A.D. 33, by being so many years, when will 1810 days afterwards be fulfilled in the same manner? Answer, 1843.
Then in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, at the 7th verse, we have the three and a half times, which have been already explained in part, meaning 1260 days. See Rev. xii. 6 and 14: The woman in the wilderness, 1260 days, which is the same thing as three and a half times. Daniel, in the seventh chapter, 25th verse, mentions the little horn wearing out the saints three and a half times; but in the twelfth chapter, 7th verse, it is "scattering the power of the holy people" three and a half times. This was to be accomplished by the kings of the earth. Jer. 1. 17: "Israel is a scattered sheep, the lions have driven him away; first the king of Assyria hath devoured him, and last this Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, hath broken his bones." Also, Zech. i. 18-21.
Then in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, 11th verse: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice, (meaning abomination,) shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 days." There is some difficulty in knowing what is here intended by "daily sacrifice" in this text. It cannot mean the Jewish sacrifices, for two good reasons: -
1. It has some immediate connection with "the abomination that maketh desolate," i.e. Papacy, or papal power of Rome, that is "taken away, to set up," &c. Now all must admit that Jewish sacrifices were taken away about five hundred years before Papacy was set up, or exalted.
2. If Jewish sacrifices are here meant, then in A.D. 1360 this papal power would have ended her setting up, or exaltation. But Papacy was then at the height of its power. I have come to this conclusion: that this power, called "daily sacrifice," is Rome pagan abomination; the same as Christ has reference to in Matt. xxiv. 15. Luke xxi. 21. Certainly Christ could not have reference to papal abomination that maketh desolate until Christ's second coming; for that was not set up until nearly five hundred years afterwards. Of course, it must have been the pagan abomination which would be taken away. This agrees with Paul, 2 Thes. ii. 3-10: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Here Paul shows plainly, that there was one abomination then at work, which would hinder the rise of the last abomination, until the first was "taken out of the way." Then the second would be revealed, whom the Lord would destroy with the brightness of his coming. The question then would be, when was Paganism taken out of the way? I answer, it must have been after the ten horns arose out of what is called the Western empire of Rome, which were to arise up and rule one hour,* (* Rev. xvii. 10.) (a little time,) with the beast, pagan: for this little horn was to arise or be "set up" among the ten horns. It could not be until after the year 476 after Christ, when the Western empire fell, and was divided into ten kingdoms. It could not come until "they," the ten kings, had "polluted the sanctuary of strength," (meaning Rome.) Dan. xi. 31: "And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall 'take away' the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Who shall do this? I answer, the ten horns, or kings. Rev. xvii. 12, 13: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, (when John saw his vision,) but receive power as kings one hour, (a short time,) with the beast." The beast here must mean Rome pagan, for we have been told that beast means a kingdom. Daniel vii. 23: "Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." And as papal Rome had not yet been "set up," we must of necessity call this beast Rome pagan. Then he tells us, Rev. xvii. 13, "These (ten kings) have one mind," that is, one faith, all being converted to the orthodox religion of the Catholic Roman Church, "and shall give their power and strength to the beast," meaning Rome papal; for now this beast is "set up," and the ten kings have given their power and strength to the pope of Rome, and the woman or Papacy sits upon the scarlet-colored beast having seven heads and ten horns.
Then the abomination that maketh desolate began his rule in the fourth kingdom, when "the dragon (emperor of the Eastern empire) gave him his power, his seat, (Rome,) and great authority," (Rev. xiii. 2,) and when the ten kings give their power and strength to him, and he (the pope) uses his authority over the kings of the earth. See Rev. xvii. 18. "And the woman thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." These several marks, and combinations of events, and circumstances, in my opinion, can nowhere be fulfilled in any manner agreeing with the prophecy, except in the conversion of the pagan kings to Christianity, which happened as soon as A.D. 508; then they "must continue a short space," Rev. xvii. 10; which is shown in Daniel to be thirty years, the difference between Dan. vii. 25 and xii. 11, the last number, 1290 years, beginning at the "taking away" Paganism, A.D. 508; the first number, 1260 years, beginning at the setting up of Papacy, A.D. 538, when the dragon gave his power, his seat and great authority, and when the ten kings gave their power and strength to Rome papal, and he exerciseth the power of the pagan beast before him. Papacy now killed heretics, as Paganism had Christians before. Then these numbers would end in the year A.D. 1798, allowing a day for a year.
The events which took place in the year 1798, are strong evidence that my calculations of these numbers are correct. Papacy then lost the power to punish heretics with death, and to reign over the kings of the earth. All must agree that Papacy has no temporal power over any kingdom, except the little kingdom of Italy, one of the horns of which the ten are composed. It is very evident, too, that the church is not now in the wilderness, and the time, times and a half of the church in the wilderness were fulfilled when free toleration was given to all religions in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, &c.; where Bonaparte obtained power and granted free toleration. Also, the two witnesses are not clothed in sackcloth, and the 1260 years are fulfilled. No one can doubt for a moment that the Bible was forbidden to the common people, and forbidden to be translated in any common language, after the orthodox put down the Arian heresy in Italy and the West, by Bellisarius, the general of Justinian's troops, sent into Africa and Italy for the express purpose of suppressing the Arian power, and giving the Church of Rome the pre-eminence over all schismatics. Then was the Bible taken from the common people, and remained in a sackcloth state from A.D. 538 until A.D. 1798, during 1260 years. Here we find the prophetic time of days fulfilled in years, by two ways more. And now it remains to show the end, by Dan. xii. 11, 12. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 days." Paganism taken away A.D. 508; add 1290, makes 1798. "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the 1335 days: but go thou thy way until the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."
When will the end of these days be? you may inquire. I answer, 1335 years from taking away the first abomination of the Roman kingdom, A.D. 508, to which add 1335 and it makes A.D. 1843, when Daniel will stand in his lot, and all who have waited for the Lord will be blessed.
III. I will now show some proof that days in prophetic chronology are used for years. All must agree, that God has in many places, and at divers times, revealed future things in figures, emblems, types and allegories; and, as I believe, for wise and benevolent purposes. The most prominent is, that in order to get anything clear, the Bible student must study the whole. And as it respects the matter under consideration, days being put for years: If God had revealed himself plainly by using plain language instead of figures; if he had said, "Unto 2300 years from the time that Ezra would be sent up from Babylon to restore the law and captives, &c., to the time when the end of the world should come," many men of the world would reject the whole Bible because of these words.
Again, others, during past ages, if they could have known that the judgment day was yet many years to come, they would have abused the mercies of God, because vengeance was not executed speedily. Yet God had determined times, and set bounds, and must reveal it to his prophets, or he would deny himself, (Amos iii. 7: "Surely the Lord God will do no thing," &c.) that that day may not overtake the true believer as a thief, 1 Thes. v. 4. It is in the manner of Christ's parables, Matt. xiii. 14, 16: "By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive." "But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear."
That God has used days as a figure of years, none will or can deny. With Moses, Num. xiv. 34: "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, (each day for a year,) shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years; and ye shall know my breach of promise." With Ezek. iv. 4-6: "Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year." Also the seventy weeks in Dan. ix. 24-27. These are samples. But you will inquire, How shall we know when days are used for years? I answer, you will know by the subject matter to be performed in the given time: for instance, the seven of the seventy weeks, "The streets and walls of the city should be built again, in troublous times;" every man must know this could not be performed in forty-nine days; or even in seventy weeks, 490 common days. So we are to look for another meaning to days; and we find it, as above, to mean years.
Again, the 2300 days. This is an answer given to the question, "For how long a time the vision," of the ram, the he-goat and the little horn, "shall be?" Answer, unto 2300 days. Who cannot see at a glance, that these three kingdoms could not conquer each other, rule over the whole world, each one separately for a time, and do this in six years and four months? Thus the infidel rejects his Bible, and the worldly scribe and priest try to explain away, by their own wisdom, what God has made plain by his word. "By hearing ye shall hear, and not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive."
But apply our rule, "years for days," and all is simple, plain, and intelligible.
I might here show how God has revealed time by types in his word, by Jewish sabbaths, by the jubilee, and by the day of rest; but I am warned that I have already trespassed on your patience. May we all apply our hearts unto that wisdom which compares scripture with scripture, and understand "times and seasons," which God has put within our power by his revelation unto us.
For the time is at hand, "when the wise shall understand - but the wicked shall not understand." Amen * (* See Sermon on the Sabbath, in PART SECOND.)
ADDRESS AND LECTURES.
TO THE BELIEVERS IN THE SECOND ADVENT NEAR, SCATTERED ABROAD.
MY DEAR BRETHREN AND FRIENDS: -
GRACE, mercy and peace be multiplied unto you, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
In time past, I have travelled quite extensively in the U. States and in Canada, publishing the glorious news of the near approach of the Second Coming of the dear Savior, to tens of thousands, both of saints and sinners. With many of these, I have formed the happiest acquaintance. It would afford me the greatest pleasure to meet those friends again, and renew an acquaintance so happy and endearing. But for this I cannot hope in this world. You will therefore permit me to address you, through the only medium now left me, on the glorious subject which has occupied your and my attention for several years past. It may be the last time I shall be favored with of addressing my friends scattered abroad, to whom I am bound by so many tender ties. As a friend of mine has conceived the idea of publishing another volume of my productions, which may fall into the hands of very many of my old friends who will see my face no more in this world, I avail myself of the privilege of appending to the same this address, containing my solemn, and, perhaps, last advice to you all, and thereby clearing the skirts of my garments of the blood of all.
It is about nine years since I first began to publish the doctrine of the Advent near; though I had been fully convinced of its truth long before, by a close and patient study of the Bible. But such were the difficulties attending its promulgation, that I was restrained from the duty for a long time. And when you consider the circumstances in which I was placed, you will not wonder that I shrunk, for a time, from the responsibility. I was alone; "no man stood with me" for a number of years. I had to contend against the prepossessions and prejudices of the entire christian community; the systems, talents, as also the superior education of the clergy; the religious press, and the political also, throughout the country; the institutions of learning, both literary and theological; the unbelief of the church; and, in short, the whole world were against me. Had you have seen the old farmer then, without education, with but limited means, almost unknown, unaccustomed to public speaking; without sympathy, authority, or recommendation from men; going into the world with the Bible alone in his hand to bear a solemn message to a sleeping church and a stupid world; - a message so alarming as the announcement of the speedy coming of the last judgment, and the conflagration of the world; - a doctrine so contrary to the human heart, so opposed to all the received opinions of the community; - had you have seen me under these circumstances, I am disposed to believe that you would have pronounced me very visionary and fanatical. I speak not these things boastingly; God forbid; but rather to show my weakness and incompetency, and to magnify the wisdom and power of God, who is able to take worms to thresh mountains, and the weak things of the world to confound the wise and mighty; and that you may value these things the more, as being of God, and remain steadfast, watching unto prayer.
This view of the instrumentality which God has seen fit to employ in connection with the effects produced, will show that this cause and doctrine are of God. What other object could I have had in view, in preaching this doctrine, under the trying circumstances specified above, but to glorify God and save my fellow-men? Yet how many unworthy objects and motives have been attributed to me, by many of the professed disciples of Christ, and by a scoffing and unbelieving world! Take for examples the following from among the thousand lying reports circulated through the land: -
"That it was for worldly gain!" How can this be true? Look at the circumstances. According to my calculation of "prophetic times," there were but twelve years to the "consummation of all things." If I ever got rich, it must be within this period of time. Now what were the facts? Four years of the time were spent in New York, Vermont, and Canada; and all that the old man received would not amount to one dollar! Not that the brethren were not willing to give. No; for they often urged me to take; but it was wholly refused. Since which time, I have received some contributions, in order to bear my heavy travelling expenses; but my receipts have never exceeded my expenditures. But say they, "he has made it by his books." But, my brethren, this cannot be a motive; for my books were not thought of nor written until a number of years after I had gone out and published the doctrine. And then, again, the books were not published by me; but by those to whom I gave the privilege of publishing the first and second editions without charge. Does this look like speculation? "Well, then," says the opposer, "he does it to get a name, like the man who set a city on fire that he might obtain notoriety." This needs no argument to confute it. The man who could conceive so ridiculous and silly a motive, or impute to others such motives, would be considered, if justly dealt with, either a madman or a fool; particularly where there is not a particle of evidence to support such imputations. Then he does it "to raise up a sect or party." This needs no more argument than the former. To raise a party or sect, to exist certainly not more than twelve years, and now not more than three years, - you cannot suppose it to be an object. Again, thousands, and even tens of thousands more of you can witness, that I have begged of you to make no divisions in your churches or sects; that we had more than enough already. I have advised all men of every sect not to separate from their brethren, if they could live among them and enjoy christian privileges. I have often given my advice to those who have complained of persecution among their brethren, to live down persecution by well-ordered lives and godly conversation. Surely, my brethren, you will say this doth not look like sectarianism. And then, to cap the climax of arguments, a Rev. D.D. of the Baptist order cries out, "It is all moonshine." "Amen," says the Universalist minister. This is argument well endorsed. My opponents have been in the habit, too, of spreading false reports, in order to destroy the influence of what they could not confute, and by ridicule try to destroy what in sober reason they could not condemn. They have published my death in the public papers, when some of them knew it to be false. They have published, and reported, over and over again, that I had altered my calculation of prophetic time a hundred years. They have published the foolish story, that I would not gamble away my little home, in order to convince wicked and corrupt men that I believed the doctrine that I preached. They have told and published too that I built stone-wall instead of rail-fence on my farm. Some have gone into distant places, and reported that I was building a large house with money I got for preaching, when the truth is I built a house in 1817, of small dimensions. They have reported that I was insane, and had been in a mad-house seven years; if they had said a mad world fifty-seven years, I must have plead guilty to the charge. They have reported, that, for preaching this doctrine in many places, I have been cast into prison. They have reported, that city authorities had ordered me to leave their jurisdictions, and not to preach publicly within their borders. Here let me state, as an act of justice to my country, and honorable to our rulers, that in no case has any officer, in any city or town that ever I have been in, or under any government, interfered between me and my duty, or misused me in any manner; but wherever I have had any occasion for their assistance, I have ever found them prompt and energetic in their measures, and kind and gentlemanly in their manners. I wish I could say as much of some of our bigoted clergymen. These, and many more foolish and false reports, have been circulated through our country; yes, and by those who ought to be examples of the flock and shepherds in Israel. And now let us take a view of the effects produced by the promulgation of this doctrine, and see how much evidence we have that it is of God.
1. Wherever this subject has been presented to the people with any fairness, it has been invariably said, and you yourselves are witnesses, that it has produced a general reading and searching of the Bible; our enemies themselves being witnesses also. This cannot be called a bad effect.
2. Wherever this fruit has been seen, ("the searching of Bible,") it has produced a complete revolution with a large majority of such in their faith and hope. And whereas some did not believe that Christ was ever coming again to the earth, or, if he did, it was a great while yet to come, and of course there could be no such thing as watching for his return with such; now they are anxiously looking for his glorious appearing. This must have the happiest influence on the mind and life of every individual who thus believes. Again, many were of opinion, that the church in some future period would enjoy a long time of unexampled prosperity; while those who had slept would sleep on for 1000 years, and some supposed 365,000 years; and of course they would not be united with their brethren, nor be satisfied, until a vast number of years had rolled away, for the resurrection could not take place until after that period. Now they believe in the near approach of the resurrection, and the final union of all the saints, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; and that the great Sabbath will be enjoyed as a day of rest, with all the children at home. There is a great difference between their former and present faith, as well as hope. And you can all judge which is most scriptural, and congenial with the christian heart.
3. There were many, very many, sleeping and slumbering over this important subject, of the coming of Christ, the judgment day, and the glorious reign. Now, in every part of the christian world, the cry is being made, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him;" and the response is heard, "Come tell us of these things." And you, my brethren, are my witnesses, many of you, that hundreds, yea thousands, have been as it were chained to their seats for hours, silent as the tomb, to hear this subject discussed.
4. In every place where this subject has been judiciously preached, and the necessity of repentance properly enforced, the sceptic, the deist, the Universalist, the impenitent and the careless of all classes, have been made by the power of the Spirit to see and feel their danger, and to seek for the forgiveness of their sins by repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of you, my brethren, can witness to the saving influence of preaching "the kingdom of God at hand," as a motive to repentance, and to a godly life and conversation.
5. We have the consolation of seeing many of our best ministers renouncing the doctrine of the temporal millennium, believing in the Second Advent as near at hand; and the kingdom of God in its glorified state about to be established on the ruins of the kingdoms of this world; the resurrection of the just, and judgment of the saints; the reign of Christ on the earth 1000 years; then the resurrection of the wicked and the finale, or close of the judgment. I know and have heard of more than three hundred in the United States, and in all probability double that number may be found! Fifteen years ago, there were none, publicly known, in these United States. "This is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes." And what is equally as marvellous, is, that there are some among all christian nations who are proclaiming this doctrine; and these, too, all coming out about the same time! Again, we find some of them among all sects or denominations, except among Universalists, and as they are the sect to which Paul alludes, 1 Thes. v. 3, the reason is very obvious why none of them believe. What has caused all this great movement to one point? Have our periodicals accomplished this? No, my brethren; five years ago not an individual could be found who had moral courage enough to edit a paper advocating these doctrines. Have societies been formed to carry the news? No. Have missionaries been sent out by any Board or sect? No. Have seminaries taught their students and sent them out to tell the church of the approach of her blessed Lord? No. What has revived and brought this soul-reviving news to the suffering children of God? Have wicked men? Our opponents dare not accuse us thus. What then has moved the wheel that rolls this blessed sound, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh?" Is it Satan? Look at the effects, and tell me what object he could have in opposing his own kingdom? How inconsistent he must be to oppose his own children thus! see how angry they are, how it disturbs their ranks! Will Beelzebub cast out devils? Again, where this doctrine is promulgated, see our churches waking up and trimming their lamps; see sinners converted, saints lifting up their heads and rejoicing! Has Satan become a missionary of this cast? Then I shall look for Christ to dismiss some of his "dumb dogs," and employ better men. No, my brethren, reason and common sense tell us better. What then has called out some of every class, of every sect, in every place, and in all lands, with different gifts and discordant views on other points, to harmonize in this? The answer must be obvious; a child could tell us what; it is the Spirit and power of God. It is he who has promised "to do nothing but he will reveal his secret to his servants the prophets." He can move upon the minds of his servants to read his word. He can open it to their understandings. He can call them to publish it far and near. He can protect them from the anger of men, and the fowler's snare. He will do his will on earth as in heaven, and no one can say, Why doest thou thus?
Now let me address you in particular, my brethren in the gospel ministry, of every sect, who believe in the speedy coming of our Divine Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of our fathers in the gospel have undoubtedly desired to see the day which you now see is very nigh, but have fallen asleep in Christ and saw it not. For us who now live is reserved the most important period that man ever saw on earth: the time when these heavens and this earth are rolling together like a scroll, and the history of the world and the church are folding up for the judgment; - the time when the last remnant of prophecy is unfolding its leaves, and the last promise of God will be verified, "Surely I come quickly;" - at the time when the friends of the Bridegroom are giving the midnight cry, and the wise virgins are going out to meet him; - at the time when we see the signs of the Son of Man in heaven, and soon the clouds will bring him to our view; - at the time when the last vial of God's wrath is emptying its last plague on the earth, and the kingdoms of the whole world are gathering to the battle; - when the harvest of the earth is being reaped, and the gathering of the vine has evidently begun; - when the nations are angry, and the wrath of God will soon be manifested against our aggravated and national sins; - when many are running to and fro, and knowledge is rapidly increasing in the earth; - when the different sects in Christendom are dividing, and proving to the world that the end of all things which can be shaken is at hand. My brethren, "can you not discern the signs of the times?" Yes, I know many of you do. Then what a thrilling time! what a fearful period! and especially to those servants who may "say in their hearts, my Lord delayeth his coming;" or who "cry peace and safety when sudden destruction cometh!" Let us arouse ourselves, one and all, to the battle, not of blood, but of truth. Let us not mix with the divisions of the day in setting up men or measures, nor stop to contend who shall be greatest; but let our conversation be in heaven, from whence we look for the Savior. Let us be like servants who wait for their Lord. If we believe we shall soon stand before the judgment seat of Christ, will it not prompt us to have our work done and well done? so that we be not ashamed before him at his coming. If we believe the prophets, shall not our faith be manifested by our works? If we believe that the midnight cry is being made, will we not show ourselves to be friends of the Bridegroom? Can we behold the signs in the moral heavens gathering thick around us, and yet be unmoved at the sight? Do we behold the last plagues pouring upon this guilty world, and our warning voices not mingling in the blast? Is this the harvest-home, and are we folding our hands to sleep? Let us ask ourselves these solemn questions, and answer them to God and our own souls without deceit. Shall we see some of our brethren moving on to the onset, receiving the darts of the scoffer, the shafts of the malignant, the arrows of the enemies, and we, through fear or cowardice, remain among the stuff? No, my brethren, I am persuaded better things of you; if you have courage enough to avow your principles in this age of scoffers, you will have grace enough to protect you in the time of battle. Go on then to victory and glory. Bring in your whole strength to the field, give your enemies no advantage over you, put on the whole armor, be immovably fixed in this one thing, to stand whole nights on your watch-tower, if need be; to show our love for God by our faithfulness in the work he has assigned us to do. Let us manifest our love for souls, by our plain dealing in truth, and faithfully warning the wicked and impenitent of their danger. Let us take the Bible for our guide, and teach others the way of life. Then, if Christ come, we shall be found ready; and if he does not come at the time which I believe is specified in the Bible, still there can be no harm done; for to watch for his coming is duty now, and it can be no less a duty then.
A few words to the dear brethren scattered over the land, in every church, and among all sects, who believe in the near approach of the Lord Jesus. My dear brethren, you will remember the joy of your heart when you first had evidence to believe that the day of the Lord was at hand. Many of you I have seen, and have seen you, too, at the moment when the evidence came home to your minds, and your hearts leaped for joy - I have seen your countenances lighted up with a beam of glory, like that which shone in the face of Moses, when he came down from the mount. I have often heard the whispered ejaculation, "God grant that it may be so." I have often, very often, heard from a warm and animated heart, expressed by voice, the loud response, "Amen." I have often felt, when retiring from the house of worship, the warm pressure of a hand, accompanied with a "God bless you, my brother." I have received many written epistles, full of expressions of love and gratitude to God for the good news of a coming Savior. Need I say to such, watch, lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping? No. As well might I say to the loving mother, "Forget not your lovely babe." What shall I say? I will say, Rejoice; for now your salvation from all sin is drawing nigh. Keep the faith, and soon you will receive a crown which is laid up for all those who love his appearing. I will say with the apostle, 1 Peter i. 13, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." And may I not say with our beloved brother Paul, 1 Cor. i. 6-8, "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." Go on, my brethren, in well doing; encourage, I pray you, those dear servants who are willing to publish the news of a coming Savior, the kingdom of heaven at hand. You know how your souls were fed, and now will you feed others? Remember that those who are willing to preach this good news are many of them poor and persecuted servants; even their own sects treat them harshly, turn them from their doors, and shut their pulpits against them. And shall it be said in that glorious day, "As much as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me," unto any of you? No, no, I pledge my word for you. I know many of you have done otherwise by me. Some of you will remember, when the old man was turned from a clergyman's door and pulpit in a cold winter's night, you opened your doors, chaffed his stiffened feet and hands, and warmed his cheerless heart by your kindnesses. Go thou and do likewise to others who are the servants of Jesus, and a cup of cold water will not be unrewarded. Then, when opportunity offers, forget not to communicate to the messengers of Christ.
A word to those who, by reading or hearing the Lectures on the coming of the Son of man, have been convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment, and have fled for refuge to the blessed Savior. I would say, hold on by faith, let no man take your crown of rejoicing from you; are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? You, undoubtedly, many of you, have been ridiculed by an unfeeling world; you have been taunted by the bigoted professor; you have heard the scoffs of the profane, and have sometimes been wounded by the barbed arrows of calumny. Let none of these things move you; remember your Savior also suffered all these things in the flesh, and that all things work together for good. Your trials are preparing you for the kingdom. The time is at hand. Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain: for God will bruise Satan under your feet shortly. I hope to meet you where sighing and sorrowing will be done away, where there will be no foes, where the last enemy, death, will be conquered, and the family of the redeemed meet in one general assembly. Oh! there will be joy, and immortal life, when we shall meet again! Therefore, let me persuade you to be faithful, even to the end. If any of you should feel your hearts grow cold, and relax from your duty, and have strong doubts of your interest in the kingdom, go to the Bible, pray for the Spirit of God to help you, examine this doctrine of the coming of Christ, the resurrection and judgment; if you are a child of God, you will love the doctrine; if you are not, you will hate it. Whatever you may think of yourself; whatever doubts or fears you may have, your heart must be the thermometer on this subject; your affections, like quicksilver, will rise or fall as you come in contact with this glorious theme. If a man love Christ, he will love his appearing; if he hate him. he will hate to see him come. This rule cannot be broken. Now, if; on close examination, you do love the thought, cast not away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. The cares and conversation of this world have choked the seed, not destroyed it. Then let your conversation be in heaven, whence we look for the Savior.
And now to all men who may read this address, I would say, Sirs, what is your prospect after the scene of this short life shall have closed? Have you an interest laid up in heaven? Do you possess that religion which assimilates to the life and examples of Jesus Christ? You must acknowledge if there is a religion on this earth, that would be pleasing to God, or honorable* (* See Appendix, No. II.) to man, it must be that kind manifested in the principles, life, and character of Jesus Christ. If God sent his Son into the world, it was partly to give the world a code of laws, by the which man might be reconciled to God, and worship him in spirit and in truth. And if that code was ever given to the world, it must be the Bible. Therefore, I would solemnly inquire, have you that religion? Are you prepared for eternity? Have you done the work which you have often promised God and your own soul you would do, before death or judgment should come upon you? Must you, can you, will you, slumber on, in your mantle of unbelief; in your robes of carnal security, until the last blast of Gabriel's trump shall awake you to shame and everlasting contempt? Oh, my friends, be wise, be cautious how you spend your time; it is but a span at most, and soon that span will run out, time itself with us must end. Be rational, be candid. Where can be the harm in being prepared? You all in your hearts answer, none. Very well, then, it is better to be ready and not go, than to go and not be ready. Let me pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. There is religion for you, it is free as the mountain brook, it is plenteous as the dew on mount Hermon, it is as rich as the fruits in autumn, there is "enough and to spare," it is ever green as the foliage in the spring. Why then perish? What reasons can you give for your rejection of Christ? He is the one whose day our fathers desired to see, and kings waited for. Prophets foretold his birth, and declared his work from times of old. And will you not believe? Will you not hear Moses and the prophets, nor Christ and his disciples? Then in vain would it be for me to try to persuade you to get religion: "For if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither would they one though he went from the dead." Let me close by quoting to you the apostle Peter's words, Acts iii. 19-21: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began."
THE BATTLE OF GOG.
EZEK. xxxix. 1,11.
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I wilt give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses (or mouths) of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog, and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog.
A FEW things, in this prophecy, may to us be dark and intricate, not because God designed in his revelation to make it so, to deceive, puzzle or perplex his children, in the study of his holy word; - far be it from me to impute such motives to my heavenly Father; - but on account of the translators' retaining certain words, or names of places, or things, in the original language, which might have been used intelligently when Ezekiel prophesied of them in their common tongue, but which, as it respects us, have become obsolete. Yet I think when I read this passage, which at first view may appear dark, with other prophecies of like import, and compare scripture with scripture, I find not only much instruction, but comfort and consolation in believing that in God's light I can see light. And even in the history of modern times, I can behold the prophet's eye calmly surveying scenes, (on which we are looking, or may look,) with a keen vision and clear perception, which on the score of human reason can never be accounted for, only by supposing something more than mortal had given to the prophet's eye powers of perceiving the end from the beginning; which fixes upon our minds a solemn conviction, that the ken of the prophet once looked on scenes, which he has described in the common language of his day; which he saw far in the distance of the future; and describes them unto us in the typical language of his time. Much of it now has become a matter of history unto us, and the very last part is now being fulfilled before our faces. This consideration ought to lead us to humble prayer, for the same Spirit's piercing rays of light to discern the truth, and for the same child-like, teachable disposition of soul, to receive, as our fathers the prophets evidently possessed. May God, therefore, by his Holy Spirit direct us while we shall attempt to understand, -
I. THE CHARACTERS AND PERSONS DESCRIBED IN THIS PROPHECY.
II. THE HISTORY AND TRANSACTIONS PROPHESIED OF. And,
III. THE TIMES AND PERIODS GIVEN US IN THIS PROPHECY.
We shall feel as though we were not treading on forbidden ground, while we attempt,
I. TO UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS SPOKEN OF BY GOD IN THIS PROPHECY. And first, it appears to me that this prophecy has special reference to the two great contending powers on the earth; their contention, and the final victory of the one over the other. As it respects personal power, it means the wicked and righteous. As far as principle may be involved in this prophecy, it would mean sin and holiness; but if men in a collective sense, then it must be understood to mean the kingdoms of this world in a worldly sense, and the kingdom of God in a spiritual sense. The places spoken of in these chapters, sometimes describe the world at large, at other times the particular places where the people or kingdoms have sway, spoken of in the prophecy.
And, now, let the reader keep in view these principles, or rules, and a knowledge of some of the principal outlines of history and geography will give, in my humble opinion, sufficient helps to understand the literal sense of these chapters, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, he may improve upon this knowledge, to the glory of God, and to the good of his fellow-beings.
What does Gog mean? Answer. God tells Ezekiel that it is "the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." He is a chief, over what? I say over the world, or wicked nations of the world. Meshech, if a character is meant, signifies, "to draw by force." If a place is meant, it would mean what is now Russia in Asia, Georgia, &c. Meshech was the sixth son of Japheth, and settled in that part of the world, when the earth was divided, after the flood. Tubal signifies "confusion," or, properly, "the earth or world." If a place is designed, then it would be in Syria, Armenia, &c. He was the fifth son of Japheth. It is my humble belief, that by Meshech and Tubal we are to understand the character and quality, rather than place of this chief prince. My reasons are these: the places from whence the multitude of the forces of this chief come, are given in another place, Ezek. xxxviii. 5 and 6, and include the three quarters of the world, then supposed to be the whole earth, i.e. - Persia, which is in Asia, and was settled by the descendants of Shem, the third son of Noah; Ethiopia, which is Arabia and Upper Egypt. This country was peopled by Ham's posterity. Sheba and Dedan are mentioned in this prophecy, 13th verse, both of them sons of Ham. See Gen. x. 7. Libya is Egypt, Barbary, Tripoli, in Africa. This land was settled by the descendants of Ham also. Gomer was the oldest son of Japheth, and his sons peopled the Grecian islands, and all the maritime countries of Europe, and the part now called the Russian empire, both in Asia and Europe. Togarmah, he too was a son of Japheth, and settled the countries of the north; the same as I have mentioned before - the Russian empire. "These were the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread." Gen. ix. l9. Magog is mentioned too in this prophecy, as "the land of Magog," Ezek. xxxviii. 2, which signifies "covering." He, too, was one of the sons of Japheth. And Noah says of Japheth, Gen. ix. 27, "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant." This prophecy has been literally fulfilled, and the descendants of Japheth have actually covered the world with fruit, and for ages have dwelt in the tents of Shem, and have been chief prince over the nations of Ham. Tarshish is also mentioned in this prophecy; he also was a descendant of Japheth, and settled in Europe. This country lay upon the north side of the Mediterranean sea. There is now no doubt remaining in my mind, that the Gog spoken of in our text means the great powers which Daniel gives us to understand were to arise up, and each successively rule over the world: the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Grecians, and lastly the Romans. These nations, or kingdoms, have, each in their turn, ruled over the people of God, drawn them into idolatry, and persecuted them with a spirit of the old serpent, the devil, for more than 2500 years. Gog, then, has appeared and "drawn away" the holy people, and ruled over the world, made war with the saints, and opposed God. Gog, in my opinion, constitutes the wicked powers of the earth, and especially Antichrist, or Rome papal. These are the "kings of the East," and of the world, which will be gathered to the great battle of God Almighty in the last day, when the final issue of Gog and the church will be decided, at the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. You have undoubtedly noticed the similarity of events between Ezek. xxxix. 17 to 21, and Rev. xix. 17 to 21. These are events of the same time, and describe the last great battle, when God shall destroy the kingdoms of this world, and set up his glorious kingdom, which shall fill the whole earth.
Israel is the other character specially noticed in our text. We should suppose, that there could be no dispute on this word, or who is meant by Israel. Yet on this name there is as much division as on any other in the whole Bible. Some will tell you, that it means the ancient covenant people of God, the Jews; others will tell you that Israel means the "ten tribes" of the children of Israel which were separated from the Jews in the days of Jeroboam; but if you will suffer me to give my opinion, I shall say, that "Israel" means the whole household of faith, whether among Jews or Gentiles, whether under the law or gospel. And Paul has given us this rule in Rom. ix. 6 and 7: "For they are not all Israel that are of Israel. Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called." Here is the stumbling stone, where our teachers of prophecy stumble; they will have Israel mean the Jews, and so prove the Jews' return, by this mode of expounding the prophecies; when Paul has given us a plain rule to the contrary. Therefore, wherever I find a prophecy unfulfilled when the gospel was preached by Christ and his apostles, I am constrained to understand the word Israel to mean the children of Christ, except where they plainly declare they mean Israel in the flesh. Then so far as this prophecy was not fulfilled before Christ, I must understand the "house of Israel" to mean the household of faith. By the word "heathen," we understand not only unbelievers among the Gentiles, but also among the Jews; "for God hath included them all in unbelief," as Paul tells us, "that he might have mercy upon all."
II. I WILL NOW PRESENT THE HISTORY AND TRANSACTIONS PROPHESIED OF. I will give a paraphrase of the chapter, which will enable me to present my views clearly on this point.
Verse 1. Therefore, thou Ezekiel, prophesy against the great kingdoms of the world, and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against you, O ye kingdoms that have persecuted my people, and ruled over the whole world.
Verse 2. And I will turn you back, and destroy you with six plagues; and I will cause you to come up from the north parts, and will bring you upon the governments of my people.
Verse 3. And I will smite your bow out of your left hand, and cause your arrows to fall out of your right hand, i.e. destroy all their power.
Verse 4. You shall be destroyed by the government of my people; you, and all your armies, and the people who support your power. I will give you to the warriors of the common people, and to the smaller kingdoms, to be destroyed. This has been literally fulfilled with the four great monarchies, which have each in their turn persecuted the visible people of God. First. Babylon, the lady of kingdoms, was destroyed by the two smaller kingdoms of Media and Persia. Persia, the second great monarchy, was destroyed by the small states of Grecia. Then Grecia became the third great monarchy, and in her turn was swallowed up by the Roman Republic. Rome in her turn became mistress of the world and a great empire; which was destroyed by the barbarians of the north. (See verse 2.) Then arose up the wonderful beast, Papacy, which is the Gog of our day, and ruled over kings, filled the world with her abominations, and must and will fall upon the mountains of Israel. Already have the kings of the earth eaten her flesh, and no one can dispute but that the present signs of the times indicate her final dissolution; together with the false prophet, the Turkish empire, and Eastern Gog.
Verse 5. You shall fall upon the face of the field, (world;) for I have spoken it, saith the LORD GOD.
Verse 6. And I will send a fire on Magog, (supporters of Gog,) and among them that dwell confidently in the isles, and they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the Gentiles shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel, (the church.) Thus far we have the character of Gog.
Verse 8. "Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken." We learn by this text that Gog had already come, in that day when Ezekiel prophesied, and the work was already done of leading the children of God into bondage, as God had spoken by Moses and his former prophets. Already were the prophecies being fulfilled concerning these kingdoms which would be the chief ones of the earth. Compare Isa. xiv. 4-9. Amos vi. 1-14.
Verse 9. "And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth," be scattered over the world, or in these kingdoms called Gog, "and shall set on fire and burn the weapons," their armor of opposition to the word of God, which is compared to fire, (see Jer. v. 14,) "both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears," (Isa. liv. 15-17,) "and they shall make a fire of them seven years." Compare with Isa. x. 12-25. Oba. 18. Luke xii. 49. (The seven years spoken of in this verse will be attended to under my last division.)
Verse 10. "So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire." This shows us that the people of God would not be under the necessity of going forth into the open field of the world to find subjects, on which to operate by the fire of God's word, but they would find enough among themselves; nor to go into the dark and benighted corners of the earth, while there were heathen enough in their immediate vicinity. "And they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God." By this clause it is evident I am right in my construction of the former; for here we are clearly informed, they shall spoil and rob those (meaning the nations) that had spoiled and robbed them. And surely the history of these nations, from Babylon to Rome, has proved this prophecy to be true.
Verse 11. "And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will give unto Gog," meaning Rome papal, who would be chief prince at the closing scene of the world, "a place there of graves in Israel," meaning a place where the power of Gog, or Rome papal, would be destroyed among the people of God. "The valley of the passengers on the east of the sea." This, in my opinion, means the great thoroughfare in Europe on the east of the Atlantic, as England, France and Germany; here, Papacy would meet its death-blow. "And it should stop the mouths of passengers; and there shall they bury Gog, and all his multitude; and they shall call it the valley of Hamon-gog," or multitude of papal Rome. To "bury," is to put down, or rule over. See Ecclesiastes viii. 9, 10: "All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt. And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity."
Verse 12, shows how long the kings of the earth would be putting down the power of Rome papal. "Seven months shall the house of Israel be in burying them, that they may cleanse the land." This would be done by christian kingdoms. See Rev. xvii. 16, 17: "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."
Verse 13. "Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown, the day I shall be glorified, saith the LORD GOD." This text shows us that this will be done immediately previous to the glorification of the saints. And who cannot see, in the history of Europe, an exact fulfillment of this prophecy, for more than two centuries past?
Verse 14. "And they shall sever out men (missionaries) of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months (which I will show was 1798) shall they search."
Verse 15. "And the passengers (or people of God who are called "strangers and pilgrims") that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, (or principles of Papacy,) then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers (kings or rulers) have buried it in the valley of the multitude of Gog," (or Papacy.)
Verse 16. "And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land." What city is this? I answer, it is the great city, Babylon, that "made all nations (multitude) drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Rev. xiv. 8. It is the great city which is now or will be "divided into three parts." Rev. xvi. 19. Also the great city "which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Rev. xvii. 18. It is called a woman, because she claims to be the church of Christ; she is called the multitude, because she is the mother of more children than any other, or all others, on the earth; she is called Gog, because she is chief prince, and rules, or hath ruled, over the kings of the earth.
Let the reader compare, if he please, Ezek. xxxviii. 14 to 22, with Rev. xvi. 14 to 21, and he must see a striking likeness between the two prophecies; and that, in both places, they describe the last great battle of the kings and of the world, when Christ will come and destroy all the kingdoms of this world, and set up a kingdom which will fill the whole earth. Every living thing on earth is described as taking part in this awful conflict. The heavens and earth shake in this mighty war; voices and thunders, lightnings and earthquakes, fish and fowl, beast and birds, men and worms, blood and fire, plague and pestilence, rain and hail, all commingle in this last great throe of expiring nature. How awful is the scene described by these two prophets! Some expositors have supposed this to be a moral battle only; but I am of the opinion, as every living and active thing, whether in earth, air or water, is described as taking a part in this mighty struggle, so will every power, whether spiritual or physical, be put in desperate requisition in this last struggle for an earthly existence. I could not, upon the supposition of a moral battle only, account for this description of kings and captains, warriors and mighty men, horses and chariots, bond and free. If it is all to be understood in a moral sense, why are they called princes of the earth? Why are they to eat fat and drink blood until they are full? Surely, I think these questions cannot be answered, if it is a moral battle only. From the 22d to 24th verse inclusive, God shows the prophet, that then he will justify himself in the eyes of his people and in the eyes, of the world, and show good and sufficient cause why he suffered his people to be persecuted in the world, a scattered and a peeled people; why he suffered the chief princes to rule over them; why they have been so long robbed and spoiled and led into captivity. He gives one good reason; yet we heed it not. He says it was for our iniquities, trespasses, uncleanness and transgressions.
Verse 25. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name." Some have supposed that we have here a proof of the Jews being gathered to their own land; but I cannot so understand it; for not only Jacob would have to be gathered, but the whole house of Israel; and this would prove too much, unless they admit a literal resurrection before it takes place. They could not all be there without; for Jacob is dead. O yes, says the objector, but Jacob is used in that passage as a figure. Very well, sir; the very same arguments that you would bring to prove Jacob is used in a figurative sense, I will bring to show that the whole house of Israel is used so too; then what becomes of literal Israel? Paul has given us, in Romans xi. 26, the meaning of Jacob; it is those whose sins are forgiven through the atonement, and turned from ungodliness. Israel is said to be the children of Christ. Rom. ix. 6-8. Then the bringing of them again is the bringing of his sons to glory. Heb. ii. 10. And the gathering of his elect from the four winds of heaven, and from the land of death, the last enemy, and sanctifying them in the sight of the world, (for every eye will see them separated, changed, and caught up to meet the Lord at his coming,) is an explanation of the 27th verse.
Verse 28. "Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land," (new heavens and new earth, 2 Pet. iii. 13,) "and have left none of them any more there." Where? None are left in death, nor in the grave; for certainly the grave is called the land of the enemy. Jeremiah xxxi. 16. Now if this passage means the literal Jew, then certainly it includes the whole; for none are left any more there. This would prove too much for our judaizing teachers.
Verse 29. "Neither will I hide my face any more from them." This certainly must be after Christ's second advent. 1 John iii. 2: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." See Isaiah liv. 8: "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." Now let the reader examine this chapter, and he will find the same gathering and promises as in Ezekiel, and if one means Jews only, so must the other. "For I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." The house of Israel. What language could the prophets have used, in the days when the Old Testament prophets prophesied, to have described the people of God under the new dispensation, better than Jacob, Israel, &c.? What, my brethren, will rend the veil from your faces in reading the Old Testament? Have you no love for the soul of the perishing Jew? Will you deceive them until the last? Will you forever harp on the old string, "God's ancient covenant people?" Will you not even inquire who are that people? Are they the Jews? No, sir, not the Jews only; for the promise was first made to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Where is the Jew, as a Jew, said to be entitled to one promise in the gospel, that the Gentile is not? Can you say they have a promise of the land of Canaan, which is not fulfilled? See Joshua xxiii. 14, 15: "And ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all hath come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof." Then, in my opinion, the captivity spoken of in verse 25th, is the subjection the people of God have been and will continue in to Gog, the principal kingdoms of the world, until Christ's second advent; when he will destroy all those kingdoms, conquer death, and let his people go free.
III. I SHALL SHOW THE TIMES AND PERIODS GIVEN IN THIS CHAPTER.
First. In the ninth verse, we are told, that they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall burn the weapons of their enemies "seven years." This must mean either literal or figurative years. If this passage has not been fulfilled, then I argue that it cannot be fulfilled in a literal sense; for we have no such weapons as are there described, at the present day. Again, it would be very unnatural to suppose that there could actually be weapons of war enough collected, contiguous to many cities, to supply the inhabitants of them with fuel seven years. It appears unnatural to me in every view of the subject to understand these things as describing a literal battle, and yet not to be fulfilled; for it is evident that the people of God are meant, as one party. It cannot be in the gospel day, for two reasons: Christ forbade his servants to fight, and the gospel does not permit its subjects to rob and spoil others, because they rob and spoil us. From these considerations, I must conclude that the 9th and 10th verses are figurative language, and that seven years are seven times 360, making 2520 common years; that these kingdoms denominated Gog in our text would lead into captivity the Israel or children of God, spoil and rob them of their peace and rights, and scatter over the earth Judah and Israel; and in process of time would smite the Shepherd of Israel and scatter the sheep. All this has been fulfilled in the history of the children of God for ages past. The next question which would naturally arise, would be, When did the seven years begin? Our text tells us, "They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth." This shows us what event will begin our prophecy: it will be the children of Israel going forth into captivity. 2 Kings xvii. 20: "And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight." Isa. xlii. 22-24. Amos vii. 11 and 17. Again, 2 Kings xvii. 23: "Until the Lord moved Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day." Isaiah prophesied that within sixty-five years Ephraim should be broken and be not a people. Isa. vii. 8. This was in the days of Pekah and Rezin, 742 years before Christ. Sixty-five years afterwards, B.C. 677, Esarhaddon, king of Assyria and Babylon, came with a large army into the land of Israel and Judah, carried away the last remnant of Israel, and they have not been a nation since.* (* Rollin's Ancient History, vol. i. page 286.) Then he also made war against Jerusalem, took Manasseh and carried him to Babylon; which begins the "seven times" Judah was to be in bondage to the kings of the earth, and also the "seven years" Israel should be a captive, robbed and spoiled people; both beginning and ending at one time, 2520 years, beginning B.C. 677, ending A.D. 1843. To 1843 add 677, and the sum equals 2520.
Perhaps the reader may not be aware that Ezekiel was commanded to understand a day for a year. See Ezekiel iv. 5, 6.
We can hardly read a chapter in any of the prophets, but we find this thing prophesied of, i.e., the captivity of Israel, the spoiling and robbing of them, both Israel and Judah, by these great kingdoms of the earth, which Ezekiel has called Gog in our text. It must and will be acknowledged, by every man conversant with his Bible, that the times of their captivity have, in every case, been prophesied of by the prophets of God. And, in general, the cases of captivity, which would end in the dispensation in which the prophet lived who prophesied these things, are given to us in plain language; as 400 years' captivity, or bondage, in Egypt, meant years. This was literally fulfilled before the law was given on mount Sinai, which was the beginning of the Mosaic dispensation. Then the 70 years' captivity of Judah in Babylon was literally accomplished in the same dispensation. Judah was released, (not all Israel,) from their captivity in Babylon; but the captivity of Israel is nowhere limited to the law dispensation: but the release of Israel from their captivity is a gospel release, and the subjects of this release must be gospel subjects; for if the dispensation changes, so, of course, must the subjects change; for "old things are done away; behold, all things are become new." See Paul's most powerful reasoning on this subject, in Hebrews eighth and ninth chapters. Who can read these reasons of Paul's and not be convinced? Moses was faithful over his house; so was Jesus Christ faithful over his house, "whose house are we, (says the apostle,) if we hold fast our confidence unto the end." It was Israel in the flesh that was scattered then, and was never gathered under the law. The gospel came, the law of Israel was done away; he is not a Jew who is of the flesh, but circumcision is of the heart. They are not all Israel which are of Israel; but in Christ thy seed shall be called. For he will gather in one all the children of God (true Israel) scattered abroad. John xi. 52. The high priest, although a Jew, understood that Christ was to gather not only that nation, the Jews, but all the children of God scattered abroad. How can our judaizing priests get over this text? But to return to our subject. The seventy weeks prophesied of in Dan. ix. 24-27, are used in a figurative sense; a day stands for a year. Why so? Because these seventy weeks in their fulfilment would carry us seven years, at least, into the new dispensation; and as the veil was not yet taken away, and they could only see into the new as through a glass darkly, God therefore only spake to them by his law and prophets in types and figures. Therefore the "seven years" must be used in a figurative sense, for the above well-grounded reasons. And the children of God in the new dispensation are called Israel, for the same reason that papal Rome is called Babylon under the new. For the law was a shadow of good things to come; it made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better covenant did perfect the comers thereunto.
Now carry out this reasoning of Paul's, and what must Israel be in order to be made perfect? They cannot be made perfect without us Gentiles. See Heb. xi. 40, also ix. 8-12. How a man can read the arguments of the apostle, and retain these judaizing sentiments of gathering the Jews, as Jews, to their own land, and building up their temple and city again, I cannot conceive. But another time is specified in our context. See verse 12: "And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land." See also verse 14. This transaction is in the last days of Gog's power, and probably under the last form which Gog may assume, and must mean Rome papal, which is the last head of abominations; who has, by her abominable doctrine and practices, filled the world with her sorceries and fornications; - she has made the kings of the earth support her ecclesiastical power, and commit fornication with her; - she has filled the earth with her murders, and drenched the soil with the blood of victims which she called heretics; - she has leagued herself with kings and princes to support a power, which she blasphemously pretended was given her by God. By these means, and many more, she has filled the world with the cup of her abominations, and covered the earth with her pollutions. The "seven months" spoken of in the verse we have quoted, are 210 days, or 210 years, as Ezekiel was commanded to reckon. Then the people of God would be 210 years putting away this rotten carcass of papal power, which had for ages ruled over kings and lorded it over his people. The year 1588, the edict in favor of Protestants, which was afterwards called the edict of Nantes, was first published by Henry IV., king of Navarre, one of the principal heads of the Protestant cause in France, who began a war in Europe between the Catholics and Protestants, which lasted, with very little cessation, for 210 years, until 1798; when finally the Protestants destroyed the power of the pope, and he that had ruled over kings, became weak and inefficient as any of the smallest dukedoms in Europe. The struggle between the Protestants on the one part, and the Catholic league on the other, was, with the former, to destroy the power of this Gog, of whom we have been speaking, and to humble in the dust this Meshech and Tubal of modern times; while with the latter it was to retain power, which papal Rome had long exercised over the kings of the earth, and over the consciences, lives, and fortunes of her subjects. All the civil power was finally taken from her, and nothing remains but the bones, or principles of the carcass. The kings of the earth have eaten her flesh, and burnt her with the fire of their anger; nothing remains but a skeleton of this once most powerful empress, that had humbled kings at her feet, and had made princes vassals at her will. But John had, many centuries before, prophesied her consumption, and the manner of it. See Rev. xvii. 16: "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." He also has given us to understand that there would be kings and great men of the earth who would lament her fall and loss of power. See Rev. xviii. 8-16. All this was literally fulfilled in those wars to which I have directed your attention.
One thing more I will notice. After they had eaten her flesh and buried her power, they severed out men of continual employment, meaning missionaries, who were to go through the land and search for her bones, or principles, which would remain on the face of the earth, after the "seven months," that is, after the civil power of Papacy should be destroyed, which took place A.D. 1798. And when any should see a man's bone, they were to set up a sign by it, until the buriers should bury it in the valley of Hamon-gog.
Who can but see, that the relics of Papacy are to be found in almost every church in our land? The love and practice of slavery is a bone of the old mother; the love and practice of war is another bone; sectarian prejudices, and a tyrannical display of physical force to put down principles not harmonizing with our views, is a great bone. Taking to ourselves titles that belong to God, or calling men Rabbis, which belong only to Christ, are men's bones. Puffing each other in public papers, and passing resolutions in our own favor, are bones of the feet or the hands of man. To preach the traditions of men, instead of the word of God; and the laws and ordinances of the church and councils, instead of the laws of the Scriptures and ordinances once delivered to the saints by Jesus Christ and his apostles, is the backbone of Gog, and must and will be buried, and will no more come into mind. Some may inquire, Is this the same Gog in Ezekiel, as we find in the twentieth chapter of Revelation? I answer, it is the same, with this difference only: this is prophesying of his power, his acts, death and burial; that of his resurrection, judgment, and final and last destruction from the earth. Now, my dear reader, do you want to know whether you belong to Gog, or the saints? Try your spirit. If you are proud, haughty, tyrannical, selfish, worldly, dogmatical, full of bigotry, egotism and wilfulness, prone to misrepresent, deceive and lie against your neighbor, because he cannot see in every point exactly as you do; you may rest assured that your warrant is not a counterfeit, - you belong to the ARMY OF GOG. AMEN.
THE TWO STICKS.
EZEK. xxxvii. 15-17.
The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it. For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thy hand.
I AM well aware, my brethren, that the views I have of this text will be called by many ultra-biblical, a vagary, or fanciful, at least; and many a man will turn away with disgust, curl the lip, and go to work in imagination, at least, to confute what they have not heard, and think they can destroy at a nod what may be built upon the immutable pillars of truth; so that truth may be cast down in the street, while tradition, bigotry, and falsehood are clasped to our hearts. But wisdom teaches us "to hear and then judge." "Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." If men were to treat earthly things as bigots do religious subjects, reject every new thing, or new measure, because it is to them new, what would become of the improvements of the present day? or where would be the increase of knowledge spoken of by Daniel the prophet in the latter day? Christ, in speaking of these same characters, calls them "blind guides," or "blind leaders of the blind." If any such person should hear or read this discourse, I beg of them to hear, weigh the evidence, and then judge.
I shall therefore,
I. SHOW WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DESIGNED BY THE TWO STICKS.
II. WHAT IS MEANT BY THEIR BECOMING ONE.
Our text is an allegory, as all must agree, for the 18th and 19th verses, "And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand," thus prove it: "Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these?" The Holy Spirit then tells him plainly that the two sticks mean, - 1st. Judah, and the children of Israel his companions; and, 2d. Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows. Thus far we cannot be mistaken. And, say you, the text itself proves it thus, and why call it an allegory? Because we have not yet got the meaning of Judah, Joseph and Ephraim; these must be understood as allegorical; for no one believes a moment that this can mean Judah, Joseph, and Ephraim literally; for they have all been dead many thousand years, and must arise from the dead, and all their companions, in order to be united in one kingdom on the mountains of Israel. See verse 22: "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." Then, say you, Judah must mean the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and Joseph and Ephraim must mean the ten tribes, and put them together and they will make the twelve tribes. Then, if Judah and Joseph stand for these tribes, I ask, who are their companions? For the text says, take thee one stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions. It is very evident, then, that Judah and his companions cannot mean the same things; for he tells us plainly what companions mean, "the children of Israel;" these are companions with Judah. Therefore Judah cannot mean the two tribes, for they are the children of Israel. And the same argument will apply to Joseph and Ephraim, and all the house of Israel his companions. Here we have another difficulty: first, the children of Israel are put with Judah; this would include the ten tribes, as well as the two; for they were called the children of Israel in a special sense, while the two tribes were called Jews, and are so called to the present day.
Again, they are to be put together and become one kingdom, "and David my servant," saith the Lord, "shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them." This does not look like unbelief. Paul tells us, Rom. xi. 23, "If they abide not in unbelief, they shall be graffed in," with the Gentiles; "for God is able to graff them in again." Yet our context tells us in 25-27, "And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children, forever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." How can these things be? They are to dwell in the land given to Jacob, they, and their children, and children's children, forever, and David is to be their prince forever, and God is to be their God, and they are to be his people, with his sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. And all this in a state of unbelief; for if they believe, they are graffed in with the Gentiles, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but all one in Christ Jesus. And without faith it is impossible to please God: yet the two tribes of the Jews, and the ten tribes of Israel, are to enjoy all these blessings for evermore, in their own land on the mountains of Israel, before the new heavens and new earth - before Christ shall come - before the resurrection of the dead! How, I ask, can the whole house of Israel be there? How can David be there? No more defiled with idols, nor detestable things, nor transgressions? "Saved out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned;" and yet saved in Judea, the very dwelling-place where they committed the great sin of murdering their own Messiah, the son and Lord of David their prince forever! How can these things be? I answer, they cannot be, and understand these two sticks to be the two tribes of the Jews and the ten tribes of Israel only; for this view of the scripture, (and I mean to speak with reverence of that blessed book,) would contain palpable contradictions.
But, in my humble opinion, these two sticks represent the two covenants, or two dispensations, called the Law and the Gospel. These are called two separate kingdoms. One is called the "kingdom of Israel." This is represented by Judah; for it is said of him, "The sceptre (or rod) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." What gathering of the people? The union of the two kingdoms, and the final gathering of the true Israel of God from all nations, the elect from the four winds of heaven. The other kingdom is called the gospel kingdom, or "kingdom of heaven." This is clearly represented by Joseph; for of him it is said, Gen. xlviii. 24, "His bow (or stick) abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel;") meaning Christ, the shepherd spoken of in our context; and the stone means the same gospel kingdom, which Daniel tells us will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth; - and, in our context, it is the same kingdom of which David (meaning Christ) will be our king forever. Hear further: "Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above," (these certainly look like gospel blessings,) "blessings of the deep that lieth under," (yes, Christ says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,") "blessings of the breast and of the womb." Again, Christ says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." I will here remark, that the same blessings which Jacob gave to Joseph are in substance repeated to Ezekiel, and afterwards promised by Christ to gospel penitents. Also, let me tum your attention to Moses' blessing Joseph, Deut. xxxiii. 13-17: "And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him who was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh." Here we have the gospel blessings again brought to view, in Moses' prophetic blessing of Joseph; all things in heaven and in earth are given into his hands, or placed upon his head. This reminds us of the blessings of Christ, Eph. i. 10, "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather in one (kingdom) all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him." How exactly do these blessings agree: Joseph pushes the people together to the ends of the earth; Christ gathers them in the fulness of time at the end of this dispensation.
This is sufficient for my purpose, to show that Joseph is a lively type of Christ, and that in Christ both sticks would be united, and Judah's rod (or stick) swallowed up in the Shiloh when he should come; and then there would be but one stick unto the ends of the earth, and then would our spiritual Joseph push the people together, and to him would the gathering of the people be. "And I will make them one nation, in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all." This king can be no less than our spiritual Joseph, and his kingdom was typified in the stick of Joseph, as Jacob said in his blessing of Joseph, "From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel." But you will ask, Why is Joseph's stick in the hand of Ephraim? I will answer you: Joseph's stick, or kingdom, was not yet made manifest, neither could it be while Judah's was yet standing; - as says Paul, Heb. ix. 8-15, Christ must first come, the mediator of the new testament, before the old could be done away, or immerged into the new. Therefore, when Ezekiel gave this prophecy, Ephraim was broken, and was not a people. See Isa. vii. 8. This was about 742 years before Christ, and Ezekiel's prophecy was given only 587, being almost a hundred years after Ephraim was no more a people. Of course, he was a fit type of the gospel church, who were not a people until Jesus came and took the stick of Joseph out of the hand of Ephraim, which then were not a people, and constituted a new covenant people, and made them sons and daughters of God. He then brake off all the dead branches from Judah's stick, and with the living branches under the old covenant, called in our text "the children of Israel his companions," he called in the Gentiles, which were not a people. Like Ephraim, they were scattered over the whole earth, in all the kingdoms of the world; the moths had eaten them, Hos. v. 12; they were unaccustomed to the yoke, Jer. xxxi. 18. "Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; he is a cake not turned," says Hosea, vii. 8. That is, he is yet among the peoples the Gentiles; they have not repented, they are not accustomed to the yoke, (the Jewish laws.) See Hos. viii. 12: "I have written unto him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing." Ephraim is a type, then, of the state of the Gentiles, when Christ came, and called in the believers among the Gentiles, immersed them into one body both Jew and Gentile, and they became one in his hand, that is, one kingdom, and both together constituted the whole house of Israel; that is, the seed of Christ, the companions of the spiritual Joseph. Hos. i. 9-11, has reference to this very thing of which I have been speaking, when he says, "Then said God, call his name Loammi, (not my people;) for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God." That is, "They are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called." See Rom. ix. 6-27. You will there see Paul uses the same arguments as I have used, and for the same purpose, to show the union of the spiritual seed of Judah and Joseph, and who are the true Israel of God. But we will return to Hosea, 10th verse: "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place (Jerusalem) where it was said unto them, (Gentiles,) ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, (Gentiles,) ye are the sons of the living God;" at Jerusalem united with the stick of Judah, "it will be said," &c. "Then (at that time) shall the children of Judah (meaning the companions of Judah) and the children of Israel (the companions of spiritual Joseph, now called sons of God) be gathered together, (united into one stick, one government,) and appoint themselves one head, (Christ, for he is head over all things to the church,) and they shall come up out of the land, (out of all nations;) for great shall be the day of Jezreel," (the meaning of which is, the seed of God.) I pray you, my brethren, study this prophecy of Hosea with this view; understand Judah as being the representative of the Jewish kingdom, and Joseph and Ephraim as representatives of the gospel kingdom, and its state; and if you do not find harmony and light in it, and many other parts and prophecies in the Bible, I shall be not a little surprised.
I will bring one more proof that Ephraim represents the gospel kingdom among all nations. See Gen. xlviii. 16-20: "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh." You see when Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, he blessed Ephraim, the younger, above Manasseh, the elder: "he (Manasseh) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a fulness of nations." This is plain and positive proof that Ephraim would be called the head or representative of the gospel seed, which Paul calls the "fulness of the Gentiles," and which Jacob calls "fulness of nations." Paul says, "So all Israel shall be saved," that is, when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Our text says, "For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions." Here is the same fulness, the same all, and the same Israel, in one case as in the other.
II. I SHALL SHOW HOW AND WHEN THESE STICKS WERE UNITED.
They are united by Christ, are made one in his hand. John xi. 52: "And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad," evidently meaning Jews and Gentile believers. Again, John xvii. 22, 23: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me." Ezekiel says, verse 28, "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel." Again, see 1 Cor. xii. 12: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, (one stick,) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free." See Eph. ii. 14-16: "For he (Christ) is our peace, who hath made both (Jew and Gentile believers) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, (Jew and Gentile;) having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (Jew and Gentile) one new man, (one stick,) so making peace;" that is, "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim."
In what manner are they made one? I answer, by being all born of one Spirit, having one Father and one mother. See Eph. ii. 18: "For through him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father." The context says, verse 27, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." John i. 13: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;" and, "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Gal. iv. 26: "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all," (Jew and Gentile.) Without this birth, we cannot possibly be called the people of God, and are not entitled to an heirship with Jesus Christ: and if we are born from above, then we, whether Jew or Gentile, are not looking for a Jerusalem which is in bondage with her children, but one from above which is free; for here we have no continuing city, but we look for a city whose builder and maker is God.
Again, they are to be made one nation, verse 22: "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel." Was this true in the gospel? you may inquire. Christ says, Matt. xxi. 43, "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof." If it was to be taken from the Jew, and given to another nation, of course, it would take away the promise of the land, as well as the kingdom of God, and the Jew, as a Jew, would have no more inheritance either in land or mountain, which means kingdom; and then being given to a nation bringing forth fruits, they would be, as Peter says, "a holy nation, a peculiar people." 1 Pet. ii. 9.
Again, they are to have one king: "And one king shall be king to them all," says Ezekiel. What says Zech. xiv. 9? "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one." Christ taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," &c. Again Christ, when Pilate inquired of him if he was king of the Jews, answered, "Thou sayest." And at another time, when the multitude spread their garments in the way, and cried, saying, "Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord," Christ consented, and even gave encouragement thereto, denying not, but confessing he was king of the Jews: not of the literal Jews; for he has told us plainly that the kingdom of God is taken from them, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And Ezekiel further says, "And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." Yet your judaizing teachers tell you that the Jews, as Jews, must be brought back into their own land, have their own old Jewish kingdom restored, their city, temple, temple worship, and David their king restored unto them. Well may we say unto the Jew, you do well to reject Jesus of Nazareth; for it is evident he has given his kingdom to believers in him, and your prophets tell you there shall be no more two kingdoms. So says the Jew, "We will wait for our own kingdom, which will, according to your own showing, be restored unto us;" and, "as there cannot be but one kingdom, your Nazarene must be an impostor; he has promised you Nazarenes a kingdom, which will be given unto us, and which will stand forever, as you yourselves confess and acknowledge. We think, then, we are safest, for we know our prophets to be true, and you own it. We know there can be but one kingdom, and that you give to us, and that kingdom will destroy all others and stand forever. Dan. ii. 44: 'And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.'"
Again, the subjects of this kingdom are to possess new hearts and be born of the Spirit. See Ezekiel xxxvi. 24-28: "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall he my people, and I will be your God." Here we have the same gathering, the same people, the same land, the same cleansing, the same obedience of the same statutes and judgments, the same promise of his being their God and they being his people, together with the surety of a new heart and his Spirit within them, as we have in the chapter under consideration. Where is the difference between these promises and those given to the Gentile believers?
1. Are not Gentile believers promised all these things as much as the Jews? - are they not taken from among the heathen? John says, Rev. v. 9, "And has redeemed us to God out of every nation kindred, tongue, and people."
2. Are not Gentile believers promised their own land for an inheritance? The apostle says, "They shall inherit all things." And Christ promises, "The meek shall inherit the earth."
3. Are not Gentile believers promised to be cleansed from idols as well as Jews? 1 Cor. xii. 2: "For ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led." 1 Thes. i. 9: "And how ye turned to God, from idols, to serve the living and true God."
4. Hath not God promised to give a new heart to Gentiles as well as Jews, and put his Spirit in them, write his laws there, be their God, and hath declared that they shall be his people? See Paul's arguments in the eighth chapter of Hebrews, verse 10: "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
5. Hath not God promised to raise up the tabernacle of David for the Gentile as well as the Jew? No, say you. If you will prove this, you will gain the point contended for. See Acts xv. 14-17: "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name, (Israel.) And to this agree the prophets," says James, (and surely his commentary on the prophecies must, and will, take precedence of all the judaizing commentators of our times;) but hear James further: "As it is written, after this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." For what purpose? James answers, "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name (Israel) is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
Now let our teachers be silent, and learn the first rule of interpreting the prophecies concerning the building again the ruins of Jerusalem. This that the prophets declare, as James acknowledges, began to be done in the days of the apostles; yet who can pretend that Jerusalem, old literal Jerusalem, began to be builded again in the days of the apostles? And it remains as evident to the unbiassed mind, that the prophets allude to the gospel, and to a New Jerusalem, as it is that the sun ever shone.
Why is it, say you, that our good, holy, and great men, of the present day, are, as you say, so blinded? Do you set yourself up to be above them? By no means. I am not, nor are they, or you, anything but poor, frail, selfish mortals; but my Master is above all, and his word is true. And to read that word understandingly, we must all have the veil of Judaism taken away; or we shall most assuredly err from the truth. Are we yet to learn that God "takes the weak things of this world to confound the wise and mighty?"
And when I see our would-be-great men, boasting like a Goliah,* (* See Dowling's Reply to Miller, page 155: "For I should think it about as rational to triumph for a victory over arguments like Mr. Miller's, as to boast of my strength for demolishing a paper castle.") I think of David, my Master, and the smooth stone, and am content to leave the battle in the hands of him, "the Shepherd, the stone of Israel."
Again, Ezekiel says, "And they all shall have one shepherd." Who shall all have one shepherd? I answer, the whole house of Israel, the two sticks, and their companions. And now we will let Christ tell us who they are. John x. 15, 16: "I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." Does not Christ mean the very same thing as Ezekiel? Christ calls them folds, Ezekiel calls them sticks; Christ unites them into one fold, Ezekiel into one stick; Christ calls them sheep, Ezekiel calls them the whole house of Israel. Christ plainly means Jews and Gentiles; then as plainly do we infer Jews and Gentiles in Ezekiel. Christ will, in process of time, unite all his sheep into the gospel kingdom, whether they be Jew or Gentile, bond or free. Then, as Paul tells us, Eph. iv. 4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ezekiel says, "My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." See Rev. xxi. 3-5: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
Lastly. I will show when these things began to be fulfilled, and when they will be finished. They began when the unbelieving Jews were cut off, and the believing Gentiles began to be grafted in. It began when Jesus nailed the ceremonial law to his cross, and commanded the gospel to be preached in all the world. It began when the old covenant vanished away, and the new covenant was established on better promises. Heb., chapters viii. and ix. It began when Judah's rod ended in the Shiloh, and the gospel ensign was unfurled to the Gentiles.
When will it be finished? When the great voice from heaven, from him that sat upon the throne, shall say, "IT IS DONE." Rev. xxi. 6. Yes, it will be completed when the angel, standing on the sea and on the land, shall lift his hand and swear, that time shall be no longer. Rev. x. 5 and 6. When the last Gentile who ever will be born again has received the Holy Spirit by regeneration, then will the last companion come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. Rom. xi. 25, 26. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, and send his angels unto the four winds of heaven, and gather his elect home into the new heavens, new earth, and New Jerusalem; - then will heaven and earth, men and angels, Judah and Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jew and Gentile, all respond the great Amen, saying, "It is done."
Now let me close with a few remarks. And first, to the Jew, let me say, Repent, believe on the dear Jesus of Nazareth, whom your fathers did crucify, or you will never be united with the stick of Joseph. There is no other way, there is no other name under heaven whereby you can be saved - rend the veil from your faces, the covenant which God made with your fathers when he took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. You have broken it, yes, in a thousand ways it is broken; you have seen it pass away like the morning cloud, or like the early dew - it is gone and not a wreck of it is left behind. Where is the sceptre in Judah? Your father Jacob said "it should not depart from Judah until Shiloh come." You know it has departed, and by the same parity of reasoning you ought to know that the Messiah has come. Rend your veil, my brother, and look into this new covenant which God has made for the house of Judah, and the house of Israel, after those days, i.e. after the Shiloh came. Hear, I pray you, the voice of him that spake from heaven, and is yet speaking, saying, "Repent, and be converted, every one of you; that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." And Ezekiel plainly tells you that you must observe his judgments and statutes and do them, in order to be grafted into the stick of Judah and Joseph united. Then let me entreat you to repent, believe on him who has come, in the time and manner your prophets have specified, and you will find rest to your souls. I am awfully afraid your veil will blind you, your Rabbis will deceive you. Our doctors and great men are flattering, and crying peace and safety when sudden destruction cometh. All, all, are combined to destroy the poor unbelieving Jew. Oh, Christian, awake to this subject! The Jews, that were the means of handing down these glorious promises to us Gentiles, are perishing by thousands, and none to lay it to heart. Ho, all ye that pass by, is this nothing to you? Will the priests pass by on one side, and the Levites on the other, and not one Samaritan to help the wounded, down-trodden Jew? I bless God there is a few, a little despised band of Samaritans, who look upon this subject in its proper light, in my humble opinion, who will do all in their power to give the Jew the midnight cry. Go on, my brethren, in the glorious cause; show the Jews and Gentiles their transgressions and danger. Let the trump give a certain sound - prepare to meet your God, Oh Israel! For he will come, and will not tarry. Then will his tabernacle be with men, then will he sanctify the whole house of Israel, then will he be our God, and we shall be his people, and his sanctuary shall be in the midst of us for evermore. AMEN.