Skip to comments.The Restoration and Conversion of Israel - Part VI
Posted on 03/11/2011 2:59:49 PM PST by John Leland 1789
No. 252, June, 1915, Vol. XXI., No. 6., pp. 63-65
IV. THE TESTIMONY OF MICAH (continued).
But not only does Micah tell us of the events and happenings connected with the restoration and conversion of Israel, and the righteous rule of Messiah; he also takes us still further, and, if the interpretation of vv. 7, 8, following those in chapter 5, which we considered in our last article, be correct, gives us a glimpse of what that people shall become, and how they shall be regarded among the nations of the world, when the Lord shall have dealt graciously with them.
We commend the thought to our readers that v. 7 speaks of Israel as being a blessing to the families of the earth, and we suggest that, by becoming the glad messengers of God's goodness and mercy to the nations, "the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for men, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Dew and showers! Both emblems of the blessing of Jehovah. Says dear old Cruden, "Dew is a small rain, which, falling on the ground in the morning, doth keep it moist, and make it fruitful. In warm countries, and in places where it rains but seldom, the night dews supply in some sort the want of rain. And, therefore, the bestowing of it is a blessing from God."
It is a symbol of Divine goodness. Thus Gen. 27.28.
"Therefore may God give thee of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the Earth, And plenty of corn and wine."
Thus spake Isaac when blessing Jacob.
It was the dew which introduced, if we may so put it, the manna which God gave from heaven (Ex. 16.13, 14; Num. 11.9).
Moses, when pronouncing blessing on the tribe of Joseph, exclaimed,
"Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep the coucheth beneath" (Deut. 33.13).
Brotherly love and concord are compared to dew in Psalm 133.3. And so the LORD promises to bless Israel, "I will be as the dew unto Israel" (Hos. 14.5).
And "showers" are always associated with blessing; not devastating relentless torrents of deluging rain, but gentle, quiet, fructifying drops of water, moistening the earth, and causing it to bring forth and bud.
"Thou makest it (the earth) soft with showers, Thou blessest the springing thereof" (Psalm 65.10).
So in the song of Moses (Deut. 32.2).
"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distill as the dew, As the small rain upon the tender herb, And as showers upon the grass."
So of the King's Son, the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace, we read (Psalm 72.6),
"He shall come down as the rain upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth."
And so in the future restoration of Israel, "And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; And I will cause the shower to come down in his season: There shall be showers of blessing" (Ezek. 34.26).
We conclude, therefore, that this seventh verse describes the holy people as they will then be, a blessing to the whole earth, in that it declares that "the remnant of Jacob shall be as dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men."
If verse 7 describes the peaceful mission of Israel among the nations, the eighth verse in no less manner pictures them as a power among the peoples of the world. It is the fulfillment of a prophecy of many centuries ago.
"And all the people of the earth shall see that thou are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of thee" (Deut. 28.10); "For the LORD thy God blesseth thee as He hath promised thee . . . And thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee" (Deut. 15.6).
See also Isa. 49.23, and this eighth verse of Micah 5.
"And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people, As a lion among the beasts of the forest, As a young lion among the flocks of sheep; Who, if he go through, both treadeth down, And teareth in pieces, and none can deliver."
But the climax is reached in that wonderful description of the millennial condition of spiritual supremacy in chapter 4.1-3, and Isa. 2.1-4, both prophecies independent and supplementary. Both testified to
1. The supreme exultation of Messiah's rule (v. 1). 2. The great desire of all nations for instruction in the way of the LORD (v. 2). 3. The righteous judgment of the LORD, resulting in universal peace among nations (v. 3). To which are added by the word of the LORD in Micah: 4. Peace and security to Israel (v. 4). 5. A walk in the true knowledge of God implying emphatically thereby precious conversion (v. 5).
"And we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever (le olam va ed).
V. THE TESTIMONY OF JEREMIAH
We come now to the writings of Jeremiah of Anathoth, to whom the Word of the LORD came in some fifty-one prophetic portions. Jeremiah's prophecy is dated (1.2, 3) as being "in the days of Josiah . . . In the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah . . . unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah . . . unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month." The thirteenth year of Josiah was 518 B.C. The eleventh year of Zedekiah was 477 B.C. therefore the whole period covered by Jeremiah was forty-one years." (See Companion Bible, Vol. IV., p. 1015).
He was the last prophet, therefore, preceding the carrying away into captivity to Babylon, by Nebuchadnezzar, of Judah and Jerusalem, 115 years after the Ten Tribes of the house of Israel had been carried away into Assyria by Shalmaneser. So Israel being quite out of the way, and only Judah and Benjamin remaining in their own land at the time of his prophecies, we should expect that Jeremiah would confine any predictions of a future restoration to those two tribes only. And yet we find that such is by no means the case; for not only does the prophet mention the Ten Tribes of the house of Israel, but he is most careful to distinguish between Israel and Judah in connection with future restoration. A fact which impresses upon our minds that such a combined restoration must be still future, seeing, as we endeavored to show in our Introduction, that the Ten Tribes of Israel were not included in a truly representative number in the return of Judah from Babylon.
We will now look at portions of two chapters, taking them together as they are connected by two references common to each. The first is to the glorious Person of BRANCH (23.5 and 33.15); the second to Justification, as we may term it, by BRANCH, "The LORD our Righteousness" (23.6 and 33.16), one of the most gracious of the ten Jehovah titles. But let us look at the chapters themselves.
Take 23.5-8, "Behold the days come, saith the LORD." An expression occurring six times in this book of Jeremiah and always with respect to a time that is still future even in our own day. Reference to them will show that they speak of
1. The future rule of a king (23.5). 2. Restoration from all countries (23.7). 3. The bringing again "the captivity of my people ISRAEL and JUDAH" (30.3). 4. The human and animal inhabiting of the land (31.27). 5. The New Covenant "with the house of ISRAEL and with the house of JUDAH" (31.31). 6. The building of the city from one definite point to another definite point (31.38).
All this we maintain is still future, and not dependent on the uncertain fallible word of man, but on the sure and certain promise of Jehovah. In each case the words are, "Thus saith the LORD."
I. Well, the first thing asserted in 23.5 is that the Lord will raise unto David a righteous ruler. "I will raise unto David a righteous Branch (Tsemach); and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth (eretz)."
What can this verse refer to other than the future rule of Messiah over the restored and forgiven people? We saw plainly in dealing with the two prophecies of Isaiah concerning BRANCH, that the reference can only be to our LORD Jesus Christ Himself, to whom the LORD God shall give "the throne of His father David." And so here He is raised "unto David."
The latter part of the verse also emphasizes the fact that His rule is first and foremost in connection with the land. For we venture to translate eretz (the word here) not "earth," but "land," and so bring it into conformity the parallel passage in 33.15, where the word is translated "land." For while not for one moment seeming to deny that in the future God's Anointed will reign over the whole earth (See Dan. 2.39; Zech. 14.9), still it is first and foremost He is presented to all mankind as the "Ruler in Israel" (Micah 2.2). And what can be more fitting and proper than that the seat of government should be among the chosen Race----Jerusalem the great metropolis of the earth, a joy and a rejoicing as the city of the great King.
II. The next particular given to us is that in that future time of blessing Judah and Israel, the two houses or kingdoms, the Twelve Tribes, shall be united again and share the same blessings.
"In His days (that is in the days of the BRANCH) Judah shall be saved, And Israel shall dwell safely" (23.6).
Surely this scene depicts a restored and happy people, dwelling in tranquility and peace. All the past sufferings, many and poignant as they have been, forgotten in the joy of the present. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." And the the chosen people look back and rejoice in the LORD. Their prayer of sorrow and mourning has been heard: "Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south." And the gracious and loving God has turned again their captivity, and brought them back from their wanderings among the people of the earth. It is a great deliverance, a marvelous restoration. No wonder that the "Chosen Vessel" should exclaim, "What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead" (Rom. 11.15)?
The two hundred and fifteen years of Egyptian bondage will seem almost as nothing when compared to hundreds of years of dispersion and wandering among the nations. Even the LORD regards it in this light. So we read, "Therefore, behold the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, the LORD liveth which brought up the children of Israel (twelve tribes) out of the land of Egypt; but
The Lord liveth which brought up the seed of the house of Israel (taken in the widest sense, i.e., the twelve tribes, all Israel), out of the north country, and from ALL countries wither I had driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land" (23.7, 8).
But what is the foundation of their joy and rejoicing? It cannot be the mere fact of their restoration, for that in itself, apart from the assurance of Jehovah, was no guarantee that they should not be dispersed again. Do we not rather find it in the latter part of the verse which speaks of the salvation of Judah and the safety of Israel?
"And this is His (BRANCH'S) name by which He shall be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." In Him is true Salvation, in Him is true safety! Assuredly the change which shall have come over Israel will be great, when they shall hail the LORD as their righteousness. These people who, in the past ages, down centuries of time, had boasted of their own righteousness, who had thousands of years before by the mouths of their ancestors declared their willingness to keep the Law ("All that the Lord hath spoken we will do"); Who, "being ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God," are now brought to submission by the revelation of Messiah. Was ever such a wonderful case of true conversion to the LORD?
And in bringing this article to a close, let us note how in the person of the glorified LORD and Saviour the Jew and the Gentile meet.
The "LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" is the present joy and hope of His people among the Gentiles.
"But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1.30).
The glory and rejoicing of His peculiar people will be when they shall be turned to the Lord, and be found in Him, not having their "own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." May God be praised that He is indeed
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!