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Thus Joel ii. begins with thefe expreffions, "For behold in thofe days, and in that time, "when I fhall bring again the captivity of Ju"dah and Jerufalem," to fhew that the feveral events detailed in that chapter fhall begin to be accomplished about the time that the Jews fhall return' to the land of Judea, from their difperfion.
The pointed prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon, contained in the 50th and 51ft chapters of Jeremiah, is blended throughout with the return of the Jews. Those two events are related in alternate ftanzas, to fhew that they fhall be contemporary and progreffive.
The prophecy concerning Gog and his army, laid before us in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel, is mingled with accounts of the happiness of the Jewish nation, represented as then living in their own land, in fecurity and affluence, tofhew, that the invasion of Gog shall take place a long time after their refettlement in Judea.
As the time of each remarkable circumstance respecting the Jewish nation is fixed in the Apocalypfe, any of thofe circumftances connected with a prophecy, fhews the particular place of that prophecy in the series of events, and confequently enables us to ascertain its relation to other
other events, which either precede, are contemporary with, or follow after it.
But a difficulty will readily occur in the application of this rule. All the Old Teftament prophets, three excepted, lived before the Babylonish captivity: When they mention the defolate ftate of the Jews, the queftion is, Whether they mean their captivity in Babylon, or their difperfion by the Romans? for both were future events, at the time the prophecy was uttered. And when they mention their refettlement in Judea, it is a question, Whether they understand their paft return, or their future reftoration.
In order to remove the difficulty, I would obferve, that all the circumstances not fulfilled in the former event certainly refer to the latter. As the prophecies which are yet to be accomplished are only connected with their future reftoration, the following circumftances refpecting that event will occur to the attentive reader of the prophecies, and clearly diftinguish it from their return from Babylon.
The ten tribes, who have had no national exiftence fince their captivity by Salmanazar, fhall return together with the two tribes. The kingdoms of Ifrael and Judah fhall form one great united nation!.
(1) Ezek. xxxvii. 15-22, Jer. iii. 18. Ifa. xi. 13,
They fhall be gathered from all countries and corners of the earth'; whereas formerly they returned from one country only.
They shall be thoroughly cleanfed from their fins2; whereas they brought much of their perverfeness along with them from Babylon3.
They fhall return under the Meffiah their Leader+.
They shall poffefs all the land, as in the most flourishing days of David and Solomon, and more extensively than in their time", which certainly was not the case on their return from Babylon.
Their poffeffion of the land fhall be perpetual'; whereas, after their return from Babylon, they were difpoffeffed by the Romans.
(1) Ifa. xl. 11. Jer. xvi. 15. Jer. xxiii. 3. and 8. Jer. xxxi. 8, 9.
(2) Ifa. i. 25. Jer. xxxiii. 8. Ezek, xx. 38.
(3) Ezra ix. Neh. x.
(4) Ifa. xi. 10.
xxxiv, 23, 24.
Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. Jer. xxx. 9. Ezek.
(5) Jer. xxxiii. 7. Ezek. xxxvi. 11. Ezek, xlvii, 13 -21. Obad. ver. 19, 20.
(6) Ifa. liv. 7-11. Ezek. xxxvi, 12-15, Ezek, xxxvii. 25-28.
The fervice of God performed among them shall be spiritual, quite diftinct from their former manner of ferving him'.
The nations fhall flow into them, and they shall propagate the truth among the nations'. Their temporal happiness shall be great and permanent*.
THE Millennium is a period which the prophets introduce frequently, and defcribe largely. The peculiarity of their description and phrafeology, when they mention this fubject, will enable the attentive reader to recognise it, wherever it is introduced. The circumftances of the defcription can fuit no other time.
(1) Jer. iii. 15, 16. Jer. xxxi. 31-34. Jer. 1. 5. Ezek. xvi. 62. and xxxvi. 26, 27.
(2) Jer. iii. 17. Ifa. lx. 3-16 (3) Ifa. ii. 3. Ifa. Ixvi. 19. Jer. iv. 2. (4) Ifa. xxx. 23, 24. Jer. xxxi. 12. 26, 27. Amos ix. 13. Zech. viii. 12.
Zech. viii. 22.
Mic. v. 7. Ezek. xxxiv.
From thefe quotations, and many others which might
be added, we fee that feveral paffages refer to the fu
ture, which inattentive readers apply to the past.
They describe it as a period in which Jews and Gentiles fhall be united as members of the church, and admitted as joint worshippers into the house of God. Before the Chriftian difpenfation, the Jews only were admitted. By the promulgation of the Gofpel, the middle wall of partition was broken down, and the Gentiles were introduced. The admiffion of the Gentiles was from the beginning of the Gospel the great ftumbling-block to the Jews, who have ever fince been aliens from the household of faith, and, according to the prophets, they shall continue in that ftate until the Millennium.
They defcribe it as a period of much outward glory to the church, by her extending her dominion over all nations, as well as by the regu larity and ftability of her government and difcipline. Now, previous to the Chriftian difpenfation, he was confined to one nation. In the beginning of the Christian dispensation, she was for fome time without the support of civil government, and fubject to perfecution. When she received a legal establishment, fhe began to be corrupted, and in process of time, inftead of the chafte spouse of Chrift, appeared to be "the "mother of harlots." From that period, fhe has ceafed to appear as one great united body. Notwithstanding the purity of individuals, and of fome public establishments fince the Reformamation,