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that is to be manifested, we have before considered as symbolized by the cherubim and seraphim, both as molten and wrought about the mercy-seat and tabernacle, and also as seen in the visions of the prophets, attendant on " a resemblance like the appearance of a man." Besides this glory, or these glories, is enumerated " the glory of the holy angels." They will be seen ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, " angels and principalities being made subject to him" in his capacity of King of Saints. How these glories are particularly manifested in the holy mountain of Jehovah's house, or in what manner Christ and his saints will govern the nations upon earth, " reigning from Jerusalem to the end of earth," we can, perhaps, have no very adequate idea at present. But it cannot be doubted, that these prophetic visions, in connexion with other Scriptural prophecies, are designed to give to the waiting people of God some general notion and outline of what is to come to pass hereafter.
It cannot, again, be doubted, but that we are to interpret these visions now before us in analogy with other prophecies. They are not to be interpreted, " privately," as a part of Scripture standing alone, but as forming part of the system of prophetic revelation, which is designed, by little and little, to manifest to mankind, as the appointed time draws near, what God is about to do in the great day of his power and kingdom. The comparison of other prophecies must, therefore, be our chief guide to the interpretation of this. And, especially, those prophecies that have been fulfilled must teach us, in the event foretold compared with the language and symbols of the predictions, how far we are to expect a substantial and literal fulfilment, and how much we may venture to attribute to metaphor and figure.
By this rule of interpretation I am led to conclude, that we are to expect a very substantial, and a very literal fulfilment of the vision before us. Those parts of prophecy that have been fulfilled, which foretold the present situation of Israel, and of their country, have been very substantially, and very literally fulfilled.—Why, therefore, should we doubt the exactness of the part of the vision as yet unfulfilled, which speaks of God's future bounties to his people, and to his land? Those parts of prophecy, which described the humiliation and passion of the Son of God, have also been most substantially and most literally fulfilled, down indeed to the minutest circumstances pointed out in the language of the ancient prophets: — even predictions, which before they came to pass, when interpreted literally, seemed in the estimation of the masters of Israel, and of the disciples of Jesus too, very improbable, very unlikely to happen to " the Christ of God," very unsuitable, according to their conceptions, to the future kingdom and glory of the Messiah. If, however, we are careful not to interpret of the first advent any Scriptures but such as clearly belong to it, how little was there of metaphor and figure, except what is usual in the most exact and perspicuous style!
These are the reasons which weigh in my mind to understand what follows literally, and to expect an exact fulfilment of every circumstance detailed; though, perhaps, the suitableness, and the spiritual importance of some things related, may not appear to us, who " see through a glass darkly," or may seem inadequate to our expectations of the glories of Messiah's reign. We see not the reason, nor the design, nor the future bearings, it may be, of what we object to; and, therefore, are ready like Peter, on a similar occasion, to reject the notion with disdain, as unworthy of God. But it surely becomes us to suspend our judgment in these cases till more fully informed, and not to be " slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written."
One thing we should bear in mind; the vision which follows does not show us the glorious majesty and circumstance of the church triumphant, — of that " new Jerusalem which descends from God out of heaven," the residence of glorified spirits, who reign paramount over the nations upon earth, " kings," and " priests of God and of Christ." But we have here a prophetic description of the situation of one of these nations on the earth—of men in " flesh and blood," " inhabiting houses of clay." The description is that of the most favoured nation, the remnant of Israel, restored to the land of Canaan, made the leading nation upon earth; and in some sort, as it should seem, the link of communication between mortal man in the flesh, and the " holy myriads" of glorified spirits that come with the Lord from heaven, and reign with him upon earth.
We have already met with prophecies that have plainly told us of the restoration of the sanctuary and temple at Jerusalem, the re-organization of their priesthood, and Levitical ministry, " to keep the charge of the house," and to perform the rites of an appointed ceremonial. * We have been told, that the remnants of other nations, which shall survive the destructions of the latter days, will be partakers in the rites and solemnities of this new temple, and go up thither to worship; and that some
• Jer. xxxiii. 31, &c.; Ezek. xx. 40, &c.; xxvii. '26, &c.
of them will be admitted into the priesthood of the sons of Aaron, and permitted to discharge the functions of the Levitical ministry.* We have been told, notwithstanding, that Israel, from its situation, and from the particular blessings of their fathers' God, will have a vast preeminence over the other nations, and hold a sacred character among them. + All this we have already learned from former oracles. The vision of Ezekiel, on which we are now engaged, only goes more into detail on the circumstances of this restored Israel, their temple, their city, and their land.
The use which God hath made of this people, and of this country, in the present world, in providing for the redemption and gathering of the chosen remnant which are predestined to reign in glory with Christ " in the world to come," is extraordinary and wonderful! So, it seems, the use he will make of them, " in the world to come of which we speak," in regard to the whole mass of mankind, under the spiritual rule of Christ and his saints, will be extraordinary and wonderful too! God has made of the spiritual children of Abraham — the heirs of promise, who with the Seed are to be heirs of the world — a great people like the stars of heaven for multitude ; but he has promised besides, "In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed;" this will also come to pass in its season.
• Isaiah, Ixvi. 21. f Isaiah, Ixi. 6.
The Vision of the Temple, in the Fortieth, and following Chapters.
The first object that will arrest our attention in this vision, is the plan shown to Ezekiel of the temple, which is to be built, and which is to form the sanctuary of Jehovah — I say to form the sanctuary of Jehovah: for it will be found a peculiarity of this temple, that though it is composed of a multiplicity of parts and buildings, adapted to various purposes, yet all the precincts of the temple are to be esteemed most holy. * The prophet tells us : —
Chap. xl. 1. "The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and brought me thither:"
that is, as appears from what goes before, to the site of the city, which the Babylonians had fourteen years before destroyed.
"In the visions of Elohim brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me," or " caused me to rest," or " alight upon a very high mountain; and upon it was as the structure of a city on the south."
The prophet tells us he was brought to the former site of Jerusalem, but he does not tell us that he recognised the former hills of Moriah, Zion, &c.—He saw a very high mountain, which was certainly not the descrip
* See chap. xlii. 90; xiiii. it.