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THE FIRST RESTORATION
portion of the land.” Here a time is predicted when the land which God gave to Abraham shall be divided by lot for an inheritance. Examine the force of this language. It is spoken of as a thing then future, but as a thing which shall certainly take place in its appointed season. We ask, whether this division of the land, here described, has been made since the days of Ezekiel ? Did it occur on the return from Babylon? It did not; but it is to occur when that restoration, of which Ezekiel speaks, shall take place; and that is the restoration of the latter day.
The other part of this second particular in which we are seeking
are seeking a resemblance, is the building a temple according to a Divine revelation.
On both occasions, of the building of the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, and of the temple in the days of Solomon, Jehovah manifested a special jealousy respecting them. “ See, saith he, to Moses, thou make all things according to the pattern I showed thee in the mount.” *
Again, when David gave in charge to Solomon his son, respecting the building of the temple on Mount Sion, he gave him a pattern after which the work was to be con
* Heb. viii. 5.
structed; and this had been given him by Jehovah. “ All this, saith David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”* That there was a special cause for this jealousy, we can readily understand, when we reflect that there is hardly any part of that dispensation, and of the ordinances connected with it, which in some way or degree did not point to Christ. . If, therefore, we find a Divine revelation afforded, which refers to the yet future building of the temple, we do not marvel. When the people returned from Babylon, true it is, the city was rebuilt upon her own heap. As true, that the temple rose again from its ruins; but the question for us to decide is, Whether the temple at that time rebuilt coincided with that which is here described. An examination into the particulars revealed to the prophet, and of the history of that transaction of which we speak will, I trust, satisfy us all, that the building which then was reared did not agree with the instructions given to Ezekiel.+
III. The restoration of the Ten Tribes, and the reunion of the kingdoms under Christ, never again to be divided, forms another important feature in the restoration revealed by the prophets.
* 1 Chron. xxviii. 19. See also ver. 12.
That there was a mystery involved in the rending of the kingdom of Israel from the house of David, may be gathered from one remarkable passage in the history of that event. I refer to 1 Kings xii. 19—24.
Here it is especially declared by Jehovah: “ This thing is from me." I know full well, that the apparent cause of this appointment was the sin of Solomon, with whom “ the Lord was angry, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.”* I know, also, that the truth of Jehovah was involved in this thing, after he had pronounced judgment upon that sin, “for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.”+ But in this case, as in many which might be adduced, one ostensible reason is given for the conduct of Jehovah, other reasons more remote, and more important also, being left for future development. What then was the mystery in this present instance? The days of Solomon may be truly called “ the palmy days of Israel;" and as David in the Psalms, and Moses in the Law, had foretold the future glories of that people under Christ, and as all the Divine dealings with them tend * 1 Kings xi. 9.
+ 1 Kings xii. 15.
to promote this ultimate object, the glory of Christ as the king of the Jews, the national prosperity was sufficient to turn away the heart of the people from any other expectation; and to make them satisfied with the existing state of things. Now, whatever God does he does effectually, and, we find him acting by this rule in the present case. The kingdom which was at unity in itself, he rends in twain, and thus shakes the people from their carnal confidences. He thus teaches them, moreover, to look for “a kingdom which cannot be moved,” when they shall be one nation (again) 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."* This, I conceive to have been the ultimate object of this transaction.
Here the question arises, What has become of the kingdom of Israel? I am well aware, that upon this subject two opinions prevail: the one, That they came back with the house of David from Babylon: the other, That they have never returned even to this day. We will shortly consider each.
When we examine the details of the Babylonish restoration, we find the sum of the people, as
* Ezek. xxxvii. 22.
THE FIRST RESTORATION
taken by Ezra and Nehemiah, to be 49,697; namely, of the people, 42,360, (Neh. vji. 66), and of servants, 7,337 ; for, though in the detailed accounts there is some difference between the two, in the sum total they agree. *
Now, though I can readily understand, that the people were “ minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,” yet, that the two kingdoms were reduced to such a fraction as this, I cannot readily concede. We look to the days of David, when Jehovah, in order to pay off an arrear of punishment due to the nation, permitted David to yield to the suggestion of Satan, and to number the people; (compare 2 Sam. xxiv. 1; and 1 Chron. xxi. 1;) and in his days what do we find ? That in Israel were 800,000 men of war, and in Judah were 500,000; making a total of men of war of 1,300,000.
Here we have neither women, nor children, nor, I conclude, servants. Surely, then, we have a numerical argument against the doctrine, That the kingdom of Israel, or of the Ten Tribes, returned with the house of David after the captivity in Babylon. What then, it will be asked, has become of them? We know from their history, (2 Kings xvii. 22, 23,) that they were carried away captive by the King of Assyria above one hundred years before
* See Scott's Bible, Neh. vii. 5, 6, note.