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Word of God, and not in the wisdom of man. It is one that has to encounter, therefore, the scorn of the unbeliever, and we must look for this. We believe in God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. God's Word is to us the only, and the all-sufficient warrant of our faith. Knowing this, and I, having a part yet wholly future assigned to me, you will chiefly expect from me to know what the Scriptures say. Receive what I bring forward only as I bring clear Scripture testimony, but let us fully believe every jot and every tittle of God's Word, knowing that the Scriptures cannot be broken.
It may be well to strengthen my explanation of my text, by the remark of the late venerable Mr. Simeon. Introducing his discourse upon it, he says, “ The more fully the subject of the restoration and conversion of the Jews is considered, the more important it will appear. The prophetic writings are full of it, and the obscurity of those writings arises in a great measure from the gross perversion of them, of which even pious ministers have been guilty through a long succession of ages. Those whose office has been to interpret them, have almost universally applied them spiritually to the Gentiles; overlooking the plain literal meaning of them as addressed to the Jewish people, and by this means not only has the attention of the Christian world been drawn from the Jews, but it has been drawn also even from the prophecies themselves, because of the impenetrable veil that has been cast over them. That the passage before us relates to that subject, no one can entertain a doubt. And that it has never yet been fulfilled, is equally clear.” Thus is the passage of my text commended to us by our departed friend.
O may the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously pour out his own blessed Spirit upon us, and guide us into all truth! As we have no wisdom herein of our own, but only the wisdom of God's holy word, so we have no eyes to discern his truth, but as he himself opens the eyes of our understanding.
The words of our text suggest three things for your consideration.
I. The objects of the prophecy.
They are distinctly brought before us by three well-defined titles, Jerusalem, Judah, and Israel. Each must be separately viewed, that we may discern the fulness of the prophecy.
1. JERUSALEM. Behold, I will bring it health.
The immediate antecedent is this city, the city of Jerusalem, then besieged by the Chaldeans.
Trace rapidly its peculiar history.
(1.) God's PAST CHOICE OF JERUSALEM. In the mysterious history of Melchizedek, King of Salem, nearly two thousand years before the birth of Christ, Jerusalem is first brought before us. It was then under the dominion of the priest of the Most High God, and the King of Righteousness, the type and emblem of its yet future glorious King, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jerusalem soon lost this glory, and though Adoni-zedec, the heathen king of Jerusalem, was slain by Joshua, it became the stronghold of the Jebusites : who still dwelt with the children of Benjamin in this city (Judges i. 21), and afterwards took entire possession of it (Judges xix. 10). Thus it was the last stronghold in the Holy Land possessed by the Canaanites, and it was not completely subdued till the ten tribes had anointed David king over all Israel. The Jebusites then mocked David with the scornful insinuation, that the lame and the blind could defend the stronghold of Zion against its true king; this mockery brought on their overthrow and the complete triumph of David. Yet afterwards Araunah the Jebusite freely gave a place for an altar where the temple was to be built
(1 Chron. xxii.), thus furnishing an earnest of that large bounty the Gentiles shall hereafter show to this city. (Isaiah lx. 9.)
Jerusalem was, indeed, in God's mind from the beginning. Before the Israelites took possession of the land, he mentioned it to Moses thus, Unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither shalt thou come. Their tithes for the poor were to be eaten there, Before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, in all that thou puttest thine hands unto. (Deut. xii. 5, 11, 18, 26.) When Solomon, therefore, dedicated the temple just one thousand years before Christ, he reminded Israel that God had said, I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there, and have chosen David to be over my people Israel. (2 Chron. vi. 6.)
Hence even when through Solomon's idolatry the kingdom was divided, God still referred to his choice of this city, David my servant shall have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. (1 Kings ii. 36.) It is often noticed in the Psalms, that
the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. (Psalm cxxxii. 13; lxxviii. 6, 8.)
After another thousand years had passed away, when our Lord himself came to Jerusalem, and was rejected by the Jews; but in his opening sermon on the mount, he asserted and confirmed the dignity of this chosen place, styling it the city of the Great King. He made it for ever memorable by dying, rising again, and ascending to heaven at this place. Thus for two thousand years Jerusalem was marked out as the city of God's choice, and at length the stupendous sacrifice of incarnate Deity, was there offered up to God.
ITS LONG DESOLATION must be further noticed. When the true King of Zion came, notwithstanding all his mighty miracles, heavenly wisdom, and spotless holiness, he was disowned and rejected. They denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto them, and killed the Prince of Life. Then according to the prediction of our Lord, their house was left unto them desolate, and Jerusalem has been ever since trodden down of the Gentiles.
After another thousand years had passed away, in the memorable crusades, Jerusalem became an object of intense interest to all the four quarters of the great scene of prophecy. We see Franks from the west, Normans from the north, Turks