Skip to comments.The Restoration and Conversion of Israel - Part V
Posted on 03/08/2011 6:09:15 AM PST by John Leland 1789
No. 251, May, 1915, Vol. XXI., No. 5., pp. 51-53
III. THE TESTIMONY OF ISAIAH (continued).
We concluded our last paper with Isaiah's description of the overthrow of Israel's enemies.
But what of Israel? We have seen and shall further see that deliverance from their oppressors by the interposition of Messiah ensures blessings, temporal and spiritual, and these blessings flow from their reception of Messiah as their Hope and Salvation. So in the passages here considered.
1. There shall be peaceful occupation of Jerusalem. "For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; When He shall hear it He will answer thee" (Isaiah 30.19).
2. Gladness of heart at the moment their enemies perish. "Ye shall have a song . . . and gladness of heart" (30.29).
3. Great spiritual blessings are shown in
(a) A right understanding. "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding (' know understanding,' marg.), and they that murmured shall learn doctrine" (29.24).
(b) An uninterrupted possession of good and faithful teachers. "Yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner anymore, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,' This is the way, walk ye in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left'" (30.20, 21).
(c) A complete change of attitude towards God. "Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: . . . thou shalt say unto it,' Get thee hence'" (30.22). "Turn ye unto Him from Whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin" (31.6, 7).
(d) The gift of the Spirit. "Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high" (32.15).
4. Also temporal blessings
"Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures," etc. (30.23).
We can, though only dimly, picture the joy of the Israelites, when, saved by Messiah from all their enemies, and owning Him as their God and Saviour, they turn to Him with thankful and adoring hearts. Surely such words as those spoken by the Holy Ghost, in Isaiah 12.4-6, will express their heartfelt joy and gladness.
"Praise the LORD, call upon His Name; Declare His doings among the people, Make mention that His name is exalted. Saying unto the LORD; for He has done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
IV. THE TESTIMONY OF MICAH.
Micah the Morashite prophesied "in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah." He was contemporary with Isaiah, but spake not only "concerning Judah and Jerusalem," namely the southern kingdom, but also regarding Samaria as representing the northern kingdom; therefore he includes all the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
So in 2.12 we have the promise of Jehovah:----
"I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, As a flock in the midst of their fold: They shall make great noise by reason of (the multitude of) men."
And again in 4.6, 7:
"In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, And I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, And her that was cast far off a strong nation; And the LORD shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever" ('ad'olam).
From which passages we learned that the assembling of Jacob and gathering of Israel shall not be confined to a small, inconsiderable number, but shall be "all of thee."
And still further the promise of this is certain, steadfast, and sure, on the word of Jehovah,
"I will surely assemble thee, O Jacob. I will surely and gather thee remnant of Israel."
And we would suggest that by the names Jacob and Israel the whole of the chosen people is included. Jacob, the natural seed, sunk it may be in infidelity, ignorance and indifference; and Israel, again the natural seed, but faithful, believing, expectant, like the "just and devout" Simeon, "waiting for the consolation of Israel," or like Anna "of great age" looking for redemption in Jerusalem.
Be this as it may, we know from the Word that it is God's purpose to gather together and assemble His nation, His chosen people, in their own land, and that Messiah, the Christ, shall there rule over them during a wonderful age of blessing and peace. But ere that glorious time comes, His people shall pass through a time of sore and grievous trouble, yea, it will be the time of "Jacob's trouble."
As in the past, so in the future.
"Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, let our eye look upon Zion" (4.11).
But this attitude of the nations arises from ignorance of God's purposes in regard to Israel. So ere against is born of this want of knowledge.
"But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, Neither understand they His counsel; For He shall gather them (in judgment) As the sheaves of the floor" (4.12; read also next verse).
We shall find this in greater detail in chapter 5. The chapter begins, it will be seen, with that beautiful prophecy concerning the "coming forth" of Him that is "to be Ruler in Israel," the chosen of God, the anointed of the Father, "who's going forths (have been) from of old, from everlasting" (me'olam).
This, it will be remembered, was the prophecy pointed out to "Herod the king" by the chief priests and scribes, when he inquired of them "where Christ should be born" (Matthew 2.3-6).
How appalling to us at this day seems their stupendous blindness, in that they could point to the sure word of prophecy with respect to the place where Messiah should be born King of the Jews, and yet actually and willfully reject His claims to their loyalty.
Surely an object lesson, and warning to all of us in the present day, lest we also reject those truths which are revealed to us for faith-obedience. Even the most deeply taught of God, the most spiritually favoured child of God needs again and again to send up the heartfelt petition, "Open (unveil) Thou mine eyes, that I may behold (see clearly) wondrous things out of Thy Law" (Psalm 119.18).
Now this fifth chapter not only predicts the "coming forth" in Incarnation, but speaks also of the future beneficient reign of the Ruler in Israel.
"And He shall stand and feed (i.e., tend, or shepherd, as a flock) in the strength of the LORD, in the Majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they (Israel, His flock) shall abide; for now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth" (5.4).
Another prophecy of the future glories of Messiah, and pointing again to the peaceful and righteous shepherding during millennial times.
Before this, however, comes that time of stress, anguish, and sorrow. "The Assyrian" shall come into the land, and tread down the palaces. When will this be? Even the commentators cannot reconcile the mention of the Assyrian in verse 5 as referring to the carrying away by Assyria of the Ten Tribes, which was then imminent, or the boastful threatenings of Sennacherib against Judah. And this for the simple reason that they cannot reconcile either event to what is told us in the immediate context, nay, in this very verse. For we read:----
"And this Man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land; and when he shall tread in our palaces . . . . thus shall He deliver us from the Assyrian" . . . . (vv. 5, 6).
We look in vain at the history of the chosen people for any fulfillment of this prophecy. It certainly did not take place at the taking into captivity of Israel, nor at the threatenings to Judah, nor at the "coming forth" of the Prince of Peace in incarnation. Therefore most unhesitatingly we look for it in the future. The whole passage compels us to do so. When we see, as we did when considering the somewhat similar passages in Isaiah 30.30-33, and 31.8, 9, that by the title "The Assyrian," cannot be understood Sennacherib, or any other king or leader of the Assyrian hosts, but that it is one of the names given to the Antichrist that shall arise in the future, all becomes plain, and fits in naturally with other passages of the prophetic word.
Who the "seven shepherds and eight principal men" that shall be raised up against the Antichrist may be, we know not. The time will show, and we must leave it. Certain it is, that Messiah-Jesus Himself will intervene and will vanquish all enemies. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him" (Isa. 59.19).
And it is by the sudden appearance of Messiah, and the awful destruction of their enemies that Israel is turned to the LORD, and is received into the New Covenant. We shall, please God, see this well insisted on in passages still to be examined if the LORD will; and therefore we will not take up space by anticipating. If it be urged that we do not find such conversion absolutely stated in the book of Micah, we assuredly do find passages which strongly hint it, and one which definitely states that such conversion shall take place.
Look at the words full of trust and joyful anticipation of the lovingkindness of Jehovah:----
"Who is a God like unto the Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighted in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, Which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old" (7.18-20).
What can these words mean but that in the future the chosen people will again be reconciled to God? But assuredly the latter part of 4.5 places this beyond doubt. Whether we regard the first part of the verse, "For all people will walk every one in the name of his God," as a supposition or as a statement of fact, the latter part leaves no room for uncertainty. Israel, in time past unfaithful to God, worshipping them who be no gods, makes firm resolve,
"And we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever" (le'olam ve ad).
This, we urge, is no hint at conversion, but a firm resolution, a statement of fidelity to God, subsequent to reconciliation to Jehovah, as the passages already quoted fully show.
(To be continued).