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by Dr. John Thomas
But the British power is still further indicated by the insular position of its seat of government; for the "sending of fleet messengers by the sea," implies that the shadowing power is an islandstate.
Ambassadors are sent from the residence of the Court, and if they proceed to their destination by sea, the throne of the power must be located in an island.
The text, therefore, points to the north and east, to England and Hindostan, as the land shadowing Israel with its wings.
To Britain, then, the prophet calls as the protector of the Jewish nation in the evening-tide trouble, and commands it to send its messengers in swift vessels because the crisis is urgent, and to plant Israel as "an ensign upon the mountains"; as it is written in another place, saying, "The Lord shall set an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth".
When this is accomplished to the required extent it becomes a notable sign of the times.
It will then be seen that the political Euphrates is evaporated to dryness, and that Israel is walking in the way of the kings of the east.
In view of this, the prophet addresses mankind, saying, "All the inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, tremble, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, shall hear".
The ensign being planted on the mountains of Israel by Britain, the Lord will cause the Assyrian Autocrat to "blow a trumpet," summoning the hosts of his nations to war; for He has said, "I will bring thee, O Gogue, against my land".
They will "ascend and come like a storm from the north parts, and be like a cloud to cover the land"; but "they shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them," for their carcass will lie exposed for "seven months" upon the field.
Then shall "the present" be brought in full of all the tribes of Israel not previously assembled by "the land shadowing with wings".
But from the subjugation of the Jews for a short time after they have been colonized, the protection of the shadowing-power would seem to have been inefficient.
So it will, as far as the mountainous parts of the land are concerned; but, then, it is testified by Daniel, that "Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon, shall escape out of the hand" of the king of the north.
These countries will be a place of refuge for those who fly from the face of the spoiler, as Turkey has recently been for the Hungarians, who have fled from the same power.
The Lion-power of Tarshish being in military occupation of the countries that escape, is enabled to continue their protection efficiently.
Hence, the prophet addresses it, saying, "Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadows as the night in the midst of the noon-day; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.
Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the Spoiler".
The context shows that this has reference to a future time; for, having shadowed them from the spoiler, who, during their coverture in Moab, has met with his overthrow at the hand of Michael, the great Prince of Israel, -- the prophet goes on to announce the good news, saying, "The extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land".
This cannot be said of any period of Jewish history since the prophecy was delivered; nor can it be said of the land in its present state, for the extortioner and oppressor still keeps it in subjection.
But what follows shows conclusively that the time referred to is yet future; for, as soon as the deliverance of the land is declared, and the spoiler is no more, the prophet directs the reader's attention to the setting up of the kingdom, as the next event to come to pass, saying in these words, "In mercy shall the throne be established: and HE shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness".
But Moab's population is vanished, and the country a mere wilderness, whose solitude is only disturbed by the howl of beasts, or the occasional tramp of the Bedouins.
For Moab, therefore, to respond to the prophetic exhortation, a power must take possession of the country capable of outstretching its wings for the defence of a people "whose land the rivers have spoiled," and that power, I believe, is Britain's, the Moab of the latter days.
As I have said elsewhere, the Lion-power will not interest itself in behalf of the subjects of God's kingdom, from pure generosity, piety towards God, or love of Israel; but upon the principles which actuate all the governments of the world -- upon those, namely, of the lust of dominion, self-preservation, and self-aggrandizement.
God, who rules the world, and marks out the bounds of habitation for the nations, will make Britain a gainer by the transaction.