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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Whatever the appointment might be, it was no doubt significative of the blessings to be obtained through observing it; not alone, but in connexion with the other matters which made up "the way of God".

As I have shown, the observance of the seventh clay was obligatory only upon the Israelites so long as the Mosaic code was in force, being "a sign" between God and them.

The sabbaths belong to the land and people of Israel, and can be only kept according to the law while they reside in the country.

This will appear from the fact that the law requires that "two lambs of the first year without spot" should be offered with other things "as the burnt-offering of every sabbath"; an offering which, like all the offerings, etc., must be offered in a temple in Jerusalem where the Lord has placed His name, and not in the dwelling places of Jacob.

Israel must therefore be restored to their own country before even they can keep the sabbath.

Then, when "the throne is established in mercy; and he (the Lord Jesus) shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness," then, I say "shall the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God: and they shall hallow my sabbaths".

(Eze 44:15,24) But these sabbaths will be no longer celebrated on the seventh day.

They will be changed from the seventh to the eighth, or first day of the week, which are the same.

The "dispensation of the fulness of times," popularly styled the Millennium, will be the antitype, or substance, of the Mosaic feast of tabernacles which was "a shadow of things to come".

In this type, or pattern, Israel were to rejoice before the Lord for seven days, beginning "on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when they had gathered the fruit of the land".

In relation to the first day of the seven, the law says, "it shall be a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein".

This was what we call Sunday.

The statute then continues, "on the eighth day," also Sunday, "shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein".

Again, "on the first day shall be a sabbath and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath".

Thus, in this "pattern of things in the heavens," the first and eighth days are constituted holy days in which no work was to be done.

It also represents the palm-bearing or victorious ingathering of the twelve tribes of Israel from their present dispersion to the land of their fathers, "when the Lord shall set his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people".

Three times in four verses does Zechariah style the yearly going up of the Gentiles to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, there, the keeping of the feast of tabernacles; an event which is consequent upon the destruction of the dominion represented by Nebuchadnezzar's image, and the re-establishment of the kingdom and throne of David.

This national confluence of the Gentiles to Jerusalem is characteristic of Messiah's times; and of the true or real festival tabernacles, when he will "confess to God among the Gentiles, and sing unto his name," and "they shall rejoice with his people," Israel.

Referring to this time, the Lord says, "the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the House of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

- They have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.

Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever".

This is clearly a prophecy of what shall be hereafter, because the House of Israel still continues to defile God's holy name by their abominations; but when this comes to pass they shall defile it "no more".

After the declaration of these things, Ezekiel is commanded to show them the description of the temple which is destined to be "the house of prayer for all nations," with the ordinances, forms, and laws thereof.