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Judah, we know, remained a distinct tribe, governed by its own laws, till the Redeemer appeared at his first advent; but “the gathering of the peoples,” or “the subjection of the nations,” I conceive, we must refer to his second coming. Shiloh all agree to signify the promised Saviour, and I follow Simon in interpreting the term
HIS OFFSPRING," or rather HER OFFSPRING.”
That I have not exceeded the ancient interpreters in the above comment on the promises made to Abraham, will abundantly appear from the following quotations from Irenæus : “ Semini tuo dabo terrum hanc, a flumine Ægypti, usque ad flumen magnum Euphratem. Sic ergo hinc promisit Deus hæreditatem terræ, non accepit autem in omni suo incolatu, oportet eum accipere cum semine suo, hoc est, qui timent Deum, et credunt in eum, in resurrectione justorum," &c. And again, at the close of the chapter, “ Repromisit autem Deus hæreditatem terræ Abrahæ et semini ejus : et neque Abraham, neque semen ejus, hoc est, qui ex fide justificantur, nunc sumunt in ea hæreditatem : accipient autem eam in resurrectione justorum. Verus enim et firmus Deus : et propter hoc 'beatos dicebat mites, quoniam ipsi hæreditabunt terram.” – ADVERSUS HÆRESES, liber v. cap. xxxii.
THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE SECOND ADVENT,
DELIVERED IN THE AGE OF MOSES.
In the last chapter, by the help of the comment afforded by the New Testament writers, we reviewed the promises made to Abraham, in order to see what was further revealed concerning the object of our disquisition, the second advent. And we have discovered, that in addition to what the more ancient patriarchs knew concerning the final subduing of the serpent by the woman's seed, the coming of the Lord, with his holy myriads, and his standing upon the earth, at the last day, as the Redeemer of his people: in addition to these facts we have discovered that the promised seed, “ the woman's offspring," was to appear in the family of Abraham, in the tribe of Judah. That God had covenanted to give to Him, and in Him, to believing Abraham, and to all who walk in the footsteps of his faith, in the character of his spiritual children, “an everlasting and a heavenly inheritance, together with the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.” That is, as the apostle has explained, that HE, the promised seed, and with him all true believers, shall be heir, lord, inheritor, or possessor of the world.” Not of this world of this world, in its present state, at least, we shall not need to be told- of a world to come. But how the possession of the land of Canaan forms part of these everlasting mercies, and how that land can concern Abraham, and them that sleep in Abraham's bosom, we were yet to discover.
We now proceed to review the sacred oracles that
any way relate to this subject, which were delivered during the period of Moses.
At the end of the four hundred years, mentioned in the second covenant made with Abraham, Jehovah proceeded to execute that promise and oath that he had sworn to the fathers of the Jewish race, to “ judge the people” who should be “ oppressing them in a land which was not theirs,” and “ to bring them back, and settle them in the land of Canaan.” This he accomplished by Moses and Aaron, by Joshua, and the judges who succeeded him; and, lastly, by the victories of Saul and · David : for it was not till the reign of this prince that Israel could be said, according to the words of the covenant, to possess all the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates."
We have already seen that this was not “ the everlasting possession of Canaan, promised” by the first Abrahamic covenant to the children of promise, for that covenant relates to the possession of Canaan, this very Canaan, (or some heavenly residence connected with Canaan,) in a future world, or future stage of the world's existence. However, in all these transactions in the interference of God to deliver the natural Israel from Egypt, in his miraculous guidance of them through the desert, and in his settling them in the land of promise, we see types of greater things to come.
These historical events are often alluded to by subsequent prophets, as affording examples of what God will do for his people in the last day. And besides we are to remember, that though
they are not all Israel that are of Israel;" yet at this era the true Israel was, probably, nearly altogether included in the “ Israel after the flesh;” and therefore
God, in his providential dealings with this people, was providing for his church.
At this present time the Israel of God must be sought for, as far as we can discern, among believing Gentiles ; but it appears that at a future period, when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled," the natural Israel will again sustain the character of God's people upon earth; and although a remnant among the Gentiles be not extinct, yet the restored family of Abraham will, perhaps, be the great object of divine interference, in those last ages which touch upon the season of the second advent. “ The natural Israel” does not, indeed, coincide exactly with “ the Israel of God," to whom the everlasting promises are made ; yet, as has been before observed, by far the greater part of the oracles of God connect the history of redemption with the history of this people; so that, in all our future inquiries, we must keep in view the history and predicted destinies of Israel and Judah.
When we read the account of the Exodus from Egypt, the miraculous passage of the desert, with all its incidents, and the establishment of the theocracy in the land of Canaan, let us remember we read not merely the wonders of old time, or the precedents of what Almighty power can do; but we behold, in types and shadows, a pattern of spiritual things, and of a greater deliverance hereafter, which will place the faithful family in possession of the rest that remaineth for the people of God. “ Now all these things," * says the apostle, happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.” For the reference, however, that any thing in this part of
* 1 Cor. x. 11.
the Scripture may have to the concerns of the second advent, we shall wait the showing of the sacred writers themselves. To constitute a type, I am of opinion we should have scriptural authority, expressed or implied, that the event referred to is intended as a prophetical symbol of what shall be hereafter.
The Song of Moses on the miraculous Passage of the
I shall now call the reader's attention to the Song of Moses, composed on occasion of the miraculous passage of the Red Sea.* This inspired song we shall find intermingles with the theme of thanksgiving for the late mercy received; an anticipation of glorious displays of power that terminate in the coming of the promised Redeemer, and the everlasting possession of Canaan. This divine poem, which I shall attempt to give from the original, like most others of these sacred hymns, is of the amabæan or responsive kind; and it is of material consequence, to our proper understanding of the theme, to mark distinctly the different responses that are made. A first and second semichorus, with an occasional full chorus, seems to be the most natural distribution for us to follow; and the sense of the verses will, for the most part, point out where the divisions are to be made.
* Exod. xv. 1.