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by Dr. John Thomas
This is as it ought to be; for he should set his face like a flint, and refuse credence to anything and everything which is not sustained by "the testimony of God".
Turn, then to the prophet Ezekiel, where it is thus written, "As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a
stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: and I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out.
And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face; like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God.
And I will cause you to pass under the rod; and will bring you into a delivering of the covenant: and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me.
I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord".
While they are in this wilderness it is, that the Lord Jesus becomes "a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to the house of Israel," as he had before been to Judah; and the consequence is that "the rebels among them" are excluded from the blessings of Shiloh's government and eternal life and glory in the then world to come.
Nothing can be plainer than Ezekiel's testimony.
If the reader know how the Lord pleaded with Israel face to face in the wilderness by the hand of Moses, he will well understand the ordeal that yet awaits the tribes to qualify them for admission into the Holy Land.
The Lord's power and the angel were with them in the wilderness of Arabia, but they saw not his person; so, I judge, will the Lord Jesus and some of the saints be with Israel in their Second Exodus, seen perhaps by their leaders, as the Elohim were by Moses, Aaron, the elders and by Joshua; but not visible to the multitude of the people, who must walk by faith and not by sight; for, though God is able to graft them in again, He can only do it upon a principle of faith; for the condition of their restoration laid down in His word is, "If they abide not in unbelief, they shall be grafted in again".
It would seem from the testimony of Malachi, who prophesied concerning the ten tribes, that while they are in the wilderness of the people they will be disciplined by the law of Moses as their national code, while things concerning Jesus will be propounded to them as matter of faith; for it is testified by Hosea that they shall be gathered, and "shall sorrow a little for the burden of the King of princes".
The person with whom they will have more immediately to do in their Second Exodus is Elijah.
There would seem to be a fitness in this.
In the days of their fathers, when they forsook the Lord and abolished the law of Moses, Elijah was the person whose ministerial life was occupied in endeavouring to "restore all things".
Though he did much to vindicate the name and law of Jehovah, he was taken away in the midst of his labours.
For what purpose?
That he might at a future period resume his work and perfect it by restoring all things among the ten tribes according to the law of Moses, preparatory to their being planted in their land under a new covenant to be made with them there.
But it may be objected that Elijah has come already, and that John the Baptist was he.
True, in a certain sense he was.
John was Elijah to the House of Judah in the sense of his having come "in the spirit and power of Elijah" But John was not the Elijah who talked with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration.
The latter is Elijah to the house of Israel.
[Mic.v.8,15. Mic.vii.14-17. Jer.xxxi.15--17. c c 2 ]
[Ezek.xx.33-36 Hos.viii.10. Mal.iv.4-6;Jer.xxxi.31. Luke i.17.]