Imágenes de páginas

are to be melted down and burned up. And when their people and their city and their beautiful house where their fathers praised the Lord are destroyed, leaving only a remnant, then will be fulfilled the words of Jeremiah the prophet saying (4: 23-27), "I beheld the (Jewish) earth, and, lo, it was without form and void, and the (Mosaic) heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains (great men of distinction), and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills (lesser dignitaries of state) moved lightly. I beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger."

This language which occurs in connection with what goes before, and with what follows after, will show to any careful reader what the apostle Peter referred to in his strong and highly figurative language touching these same things. For before he ventures upon this subject, he cautions his brethren to be mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, for prophets and apostles treat of the same things, using similar language. We will cite one more instance from the many which are contained in the words of the prophets, and proceed with another branch of our treatise.

Moses wrote a song for a witness against the rebellious house of Israel, as it is recorded in the thirty-second chapter of Deuteronomy (verses 22-25) where the Lord says, "A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them, I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction; I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs."

We have written more at length upon these things from the fact that the clerical misinterpretation of Peter's prophecy concerning the end of the world renders void and destroys a large proportion of both the Old and New Testament prophecies. These men may have indeed a zeal of God in those matters but not according to knowledge, for they have fallen into the error of the wicked, against which Peter warns his brethren among the last words of this very letter, after telling them plainly that what Paul had written of these same things contained some things hard to be understood, thus indicating that what he had said, as well as other Scriptures treating of the same matters, were hard to be understood. But as his brethren had been instructed in these things and knew them correctly, he says to them," Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness."



Two periods of Israel's existence as a nation · Former days Latter days-Evils that befall them in latter days - Relation of Book of Revelation to law and prophets as seen in, first, four series of judgments - Second, Israel's sin Third, the spot, mark, or seal — Fourth, sealed up treasures

[ocr errors]

of the Lord-Fifth, Cry of peace and safety.

We now enter upon the presentation of one of the most important, among the many important subjects brought to view in the Holy Scriptures, which is nothing less than an age which will arise and be manifested between the present time and the second coming of Christ,- an age that will be characterized by the same miraculous works and events that were witnessed in the past history of the house of Israel, beginning with their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt down to the time of Christ's first appearing in the world; and many of the great things which were brought to pass in their former history will be greatly exceeded by those that are to come.

We have spoken of this as the hidden age from the fact that the Scriptures relating thereto have been misinterpreted and misapplied, insomuch that the age to which they refer, and wherein these remarkable prophecies are to find their fulfillment, has been almost, if not entirely lost sight of and left out of the calculations, writings, and teachings of the leading commentators and writers of the sectarian world in modern times.

Now to illustrate what we say: many persons from the apostolic times up to the present day have been teaching and expecting that the second coming of Christ might transpire in, or somewhere about, the days wherein they were living, and many, yea, very many, of these mistaken and misguided people have set times and published dates, when they expected that Christ would come. Luther said that he believed that Christ would come within a period of about three hundred years from his times, to destroy what he regarded as antichrist, the Papal power; and both before and since his day, there have been multitudes fixing upon times, and they are just as busily employed at the present day in this same thing as they have been in the past. And the ignominious failures of all that have preceded them appear to teach them nothing. Now all these persons, by their faith and works, manifest their utter ignorance of this age which is coming, and which must precede the second coming of Christ, or the Scriptures would be broken, which Jesus himself said cannot be.


We shall therefore enter upon our task by first calling attention to the fact that the law of Moses was given to Israel in two parts; in fact these

parts are spoken of as though they were two separate covenants. The first part, Moses says, was made in Horeb, whereas the second part was made in the land of Moab after they had finished their forty years' sojourn in the wilderness, and after the children of Israel, under the leadership of Moses, had conquered and destroyed Sihon King of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan.


The title of the book which contains the record of this second covenant or second part of the law, is significantly and properly called Deuteronomy, which, being interpreted, signifies second law, and so the book begins as follows: 'These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan, in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Disahab. There are eleven days' journey from Horeb, by the way of Mount Seir, unto Kadesh-barnea. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them. After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, which dwelt at Ataroth in Edrei, on this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying...'

[ocr errors]

Again Moses speaks to Israel concerning these two covenants into which the law is divided (5: 1-3) saying, " And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, . . . The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day." The greater portion of those with whom he made the first covenant in Horeb had fallen in the wilderness, because of unbelief, but their children which they said would be a prey were still alive and present to enter into this covenant, and then to cross over Jordan and enter the land of promise. This very important feature in the law is brought distinctly before the reader again in the first verse of the twenty-ninth chapter of this book, saying, "These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb."

This book of Deuteronomy when completed was given into the hands of the priests, who were directed to put it into the ark to be preserved as a witness against them when they should corrupt themselves, as Moses says (31:24-27), "And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee, for I know thy rebellion and thy stiffneck; behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord, and how much more after my death?" (31:24-27). This book of Deuteronomy was also required to be brought forth out of the ark every seventh year, and to be read to all Israel in the year of release, as it is contained in this same chapter (verses 9-13), saying, "And Moses wrote this law and delivered it unto the priests, the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all

the elders of Israel, and Moses commanded them saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law. And that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it."

[ocr errors]

This book also contains a very remarkable song, the preliminaries of which are set forth in the thirty-first chapter (verses 14-22 and 28-30). The song itself is recorded in the thirty-second chapter (verses 1-43). This song is to be sung in the day when the judgments contained in this book are to be poured out in the last of the latter days upon the rebellious house of Israel. This song in the Book of the Revelation in chapter fifteen is called the 'song of Moses and the song of the Lamb," which song will be sung by the hundred forty and four thousand who will in that day be redeemed out of all the tribes of Israel. Of the things contained in this song, and their application, we will speak more particularly when we reach that part of our subject where these things obtain. But touching this song Moses said verses 28-30), " Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended."

With reference to the evils which will befall the house of Israel in the latter days, the period in their history to which this song and the second law have special reference, Moses said also, as it is written in the fourth chapter (verses 30-31), "When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice, for the Lord thy God is a merciful God, he will not forsake thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers, which he sware unto thee."


The reference which is made by Moses in these two passages to the "latter days" should indicate to the careful reader why the law was given in two parts, so as to be known as the first and second law, or first and second covenant. The house of Israel has two periods of existence as a people and a nation under the law of Moses, which are known in the Scriptures as their former days and their latter days. Their former days began with their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and, with the ten tribes, terminated when the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and carried them away captive, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river Gozan, in the cities

of the Medes. With Judah they terminated when the Romans, about fortynine years after Shiloh had come and suffered, made war upon Judah and destroyed their place and nation. Thus terminated the former days of the kingdom of Israel, which had continued for a period of about fifteen centuries under various vicissitudes of fortune. They had provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger until there was no remedy, until he had cast them out of his sight, as he testified unto them by his servants the prophets. This dispersion has now continued for more than eighteen centuries.

The first part of the Mosaic law applies mainly to the people of Israel during their former days, but while the second law, contained in the book of Deuteronomy, has also a partial and primary application to the government of the children of Israel in their former days, yet its special and principal application is to the whole house of Israel in the latter days; for the blessings and the cursings contained in the book of Deuteronomy, the evils and the terrible judgments written therein, have in the past history of that people been but partially fulfilled. But Jesus said, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one jot or one tittle to pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Therefore all the curses and all the judgments contained in this second book of the law, which when carefully read and considered are enough to make one's ears tingle, yet will all most certainly be literally fulfilled. And that this second law applies to the second period of Israel's history, subsequent to the first appearance of Christ in the world, may be seen by the manner in which Paul shows, first, the righteousness which is of the law, and second, the righteousness which is of faith (Rom. 10: 5-8), saying, "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth these things, shall live by them." It should be noted here that this quotation is from the first part of the law, the fifth verse of the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus; but when he speaks of the righteousness of faith, from what book and from what law does he cite his proof? We reply, from the thirtieth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy (verses 11-14), saying in his letter to the Romans, "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into the heavens (that is, to bring down Christ from above)? or who shall descend into the deep (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead)? But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is the word of faith which we preach." Thus when Israel is dwelling again in their own land in the latter days under the second law, they will not need to look forward to Christ's coming as a matter of promise, for it will in that day be a historical fact, so that they will not need to say, "Who shall ascend into heaven? or descend into the deep?" but the word will be nigh unto them, as Moses testifies in the second part of the law.


The latter days of Israel are future to the days in which we now live, and they will commence with the second exodus of the whole house of Israel from among all nations where they are dispersed, and whence they will be gathered again after the manner that they were brought up out of Egypt, with a high hand and an unlifted arm; and after being disciplined again in

« AnteriorContinuar »