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to pass in that day, saith the Lord to the rebellious house of Israel) that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, ... and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds, and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers." And now note particularly, “Thy graven images also will I cut off, and standing images out of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands, and I will pluck thy groves out of the midst of thee, so will I destroy thy cities.” This is what he will do to his idolatrous people, and then referring to the punishment that he will after inflict upon the Gentiles, he adds, “And I will execute vengeance in mine anger and fury upon the heathen such as they have not heard."
Here is proof direct and positive as to the idolatrous character of the house of Israel in the latter days, and how God will abolish all these abominations out of the land in that day. It will be remembered that the Lord forbade the kings of Israel to multiply horses in their land; that was done lest his people, like the nations, should rely upon cavalry for safety in time of war instead of relying upon the strong arm of the Lord their God for safety and protection from the enemy.
Now what Micah says about the mountain of the Lord's house being established in the tops of the mountains in the last days refers in plain language to the kingdom of Israel, composed of the remnant of Israel organized into a kingdom under the new covenant, with a king in the Aesh of the house of David called “the man child,” who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. This kingdom under Christ the Lord is to be placed high above all kingdoms of the earth. This remarkable state of affairs that is to obtain in the latter days, as it is testified of by Micah in the fourth chapter of his book, is also spoken of by Isaiah in similar language in the second chapter, where also the idolatry of the rebellious house is graphically described; for after showing, as Micah does, how the mountain of the house of the Lord is to be established in the tops of the mountains, and how the Lord shall then judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, insomuch that they will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, then the Prophet says: “Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures. Their land also is full of houses, neither is there any end of their chariots (Israel will be a formidable military power in that day). After these things the prophet adds, “Their land also is full of idols, they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made, and the mean man boweth down (before their idols), and the great man humbleth himself, therefore forgive them not." (Verse 18) “And the idols, he shall utterly destroy, and they (the idol worshippers) shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth (when the enemy pursues them), for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
And apparently lest we might not clearly understand when in Israel's his
tory this should transpire, he says, “In that day, a man shall cast his idols of silver and his idols of gold which they have made, each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clifts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” That is, they will say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev. 6:16), for this transpires under the opening of the sixth seal, under the judgments that are set forth therein while they are being executed upon the wicked. These testimonies are conclusive as to the idolatrous works of Israel in the last days, in the day of the Lord when destruction like a whirlwind shall overtake them.
The prophet Zechariah also confirms these testimonies, for after showing (chapter 12) how all the nations are to be “cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it,” in the day also that he says he “will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem (the remnant and their king) the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced ” (11:10), in the day when " there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon” (when Josiah was slain), - in that day, says the prophet (chapter 13), "there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin, and for uncleanness.” And then adds Zechariah, “ And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered, and I will also cause the (false) prophets, and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.” And such will be the zeal of the remnant of Israel that are left in that day, that it is said of them, “and it shall come to pass that when any (of the false prophets) shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him, shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord, and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth."
These important testimonies establish the truth of what we have affirmed regarding the idolatry of the house of Israel in the latter days, and are sufficient for the present purpose, and show why the Lord said to Ezekiel (6:11), "Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas! for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel.” But we shall present other evidences of these abominations as we progress with our investigations of the different features of these important subjects.
THE ERROR OF MODERN COMMENTATORS
Boast not thyself — Importance of Israel in prophecy — Kingdoms and empires of antiquity - Nebuchadnezzar's proclamation and vision - Decree of the watchers Belshazzar.
One of the chief errors of modern commentators and of those who have attempted to interpret the great prophecies of both Old and New Testament Scriptures arises from the fact that they have not paid sufficient attention to Paul's advice to Gentiles, not to become wise in their own conceit. The Lord chose Israel, the seed of Abraham his friend, to be his people, his peculiar treasure above all the people of the earth and so, as the Psalmist said," he showed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments they have not known them.” And therefore the Lord said unto them by the hand of Amos (3:2), “You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you according to your iniquities.” Now as the Lord's people showed a waywardness from the first, he said unto them by the hand of Moses his servant, in the song of witness (Deut. 32:21), “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God. They have provoked me to anger
with their vanities.” And now as an offset to all this, the Lord says, “ And I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation." Accordingly, when Christ came and the nation, all but a remnant, refused him, the rebellious were cut off and the Gentiles were grafted in instead, and the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles inviting them to become heirs to God's kingdom and glory, instead of his own people Israel.
The people of Israel who were blinded because of their unbelief were indeed very angry and jealous at this, as Paul himself testifies, for it is said that at Antioch, when the Jews saw the multitudes they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing that ye put it far from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life. lo we turn to the Gentiles, for so hath the Lord commanded us saying, I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth ” (Acts 13:42-52). Again Paul says of the rebellious Jews, that they killed the Lord Jesus and their prophets, and they please not God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway, for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost (I Thess. 2: 14-16).
But human nature is very weak, and so when the Gentiles were grafted into the good olive tree, they were inclined to boast themselves against the natural branches that were cut off that they might be grafted in. This waywardness on the part of the Gentiles Paul rebukes, saying (Rom. 11:18), "Boast not thyself against the branches, but if thou boast thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt then say, The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in. Well! because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed that he spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity, but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
But alas! the Gentiles have not continued in God's goodness, in the hope of Israel, and in the life and immortality which Christ brought to light by his death, burial and resurrection from the dead; but instead they have foisted into the faith the heathen doctrine of immortality; therefore their destiny is to be cut off as the unbelieving Jews were. But the children of Israel are to be grafted again into their own olive tree (Rom. 11: 12-15), and therefore after the second exodus, when Israel is again planted in their own land under the law of Moses as aforetime, in their second manifestation under the law, then the Gentiles will be set aside where they were before. Therefore while their day lasts, the wise among them should give diligence, or they will be cut off from God's kingdom and glory.
But the highmindedness and conceit of the Gentiles is nowhere more apparent than in this modern theory of interpreting the prophecies. For instance, in their attempts to interpret the visions of Daniel and John the house of Israel is almost entirely lost sight of, and the great and pompous Gentile is about all that they see, and the house of Israel, which is in reality the great and central figure of the Old and New Testament prophecies, is overlooked and nearly lost sight of. It is the people of Israel who appear in the foreground, either as a faithful nation or as a rebellious people whom the nations are brought against to punish.
We will now, therefore, point out briefly instances that will prove the truth of what we have herein affirmed, and afterward in the more full interpretation of these prophecies we will endeavor to prove beyond contradiction what we shall now forecast.
First. In the great image that was shown in vision to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, whose brightness was excellent, and the form thereof terrible, the parts of which were composed of gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay, - in all this the modern interpreter sees nothing but symbols of Gentile powers and people, whereas we shall show that the clay of the image represents the house of Israel, a good intimation of which the prophet gives in the special attention that he bestows upon that part of the image where the clay is found, over and above all other parts of the image. Again, when the stone falls upon the image and grinds it to powder, it is a very significant fact that the stone does not fall first upon the head, so as to pulverize the whole mass together, as we would naturally suppose that it should do, but, says Daniel, “ Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and break them to pieces.” “Then," he adds," was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them." This answers to what Paul says, judgment upon the Jew first, and after upon the Gentile.
Second. In Daniel's vision of the four beasts, the same mistake is made, for in the interpretation of the four beasts the heads and the horns, including the little horn, are understood to represent Gentile powers, whereas upon the little horn, though called little, the inspired interpreter bestows more particular attention than he does upon any other beast or horn. And why is this? We expect to be able to prove that it is because this little horn is an Israelitish character.
Third. In Daniel's vision recorded in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters of this book, there are introduced three kings as the representatives of three classes of peoples and nations,— the king of the north, the king of the south, and the king that does according to his will. Now these three kings are again said to be kings of the Gentiles, which is a great error, for while this vision shows how the king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain, and there come to an end with none to help him, yet the august personage who appeared to Daniel and showed him these wonders of the latter days said as a preface to his revelation, “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (10:14). Again (verse 21) he says, “But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth," and the things noted in the Scripture are what will befall Israel in the latter days. And therefore while the angel incidentally shows Daniel what shall overtake the Gentiles in that day, the chief burden of his revelation is what shall befall Daniel's own people, “ for evil,” says Moses, “shall befall you in the latter days."
The king who shall do according to his will, and who shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and prosper until the indignation be accomplished (11:3639),— this notable person is not a Gentile king, but on the contrary he is a profane and wicked prince of Israel, “whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end," while the king of the north is Gog, the Assyrian, and the king of the south is the king of Egypt.
Fourth. But when we come to the Book of Revelation, the mystification of the characters contained therein is more marked than elsewhere. This book is called the testimony of Jesus by the angel which showed these things to John; also he calls it a prophecy,— that is, it is the great prophecy of the prophet like unto Moses. In this book.there are four great and notable characters brought to view and described, and their work pointed out. First, the beast that rises up out of the sea, “having seven heads, and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." This beast, it is written, ascends out of the bottomless pit, and goes into perdition. Second, the woman that sits upon many waters, upon the scarlet colored beast, and upon seven mountains, and who is drunk with the blood of saints, and