Lecture 3.

The Prophetical Books.

Isaiah to Ezekiel.

In coming next to the prophetical books, the question probably arises, Why should we take up the Prophets next instead of the poetical books, which in our Bibles come after the historical?

There is a verse in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke and the forty-fourth verse which I think shows us that this is not an unusual thought in Scripture itself: "And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me." You notice you have here the Old Testament divided into three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms; and that the order in which you have them is, first the Law, second the Prophets, and last the Psalms. Many are doubtless aware that the prophets are divided into the former and latter prophets, or, into the historical prophets and those who wrote directly God's message to the people.

Now, that brings the prophets all together; first, the "former," or historical, then the "latter;" and in the next place, as you notice in this verse, it puts the book of Psalms, including all the poetical books, last. I simply speak of this in order that you may not think it is a mere arbitrary thing that we take up the prophets and call them the third section. I might also add that in the Hebrew Bible, the sacred writings, the Psalm books, are all put after the prophets.

We have now to ask whether the correspondence of numerical place with theme, which we have been tracing heretofore, exists in this section also.

The books of the law, we saw, were the first; God's law is fundamental. Then secondly, the historical books are the second section, because they give us not merely the history in its continuance, but the progress and development of the truth of God in the hands of His people, and the account of His manifold deliverances. Coming to the third book, we find three is the number of revival, of resurrection; and we may expect, therefore, in these books of the prophets to see the divine power of resurrection. Three is also the number of the sanctuary, and where will you find the holiest more fully brought out in its revival principles than in the teachings of the prophets? You remember that we saw that in Samuel you have the rise of the prophet upon the failure of the priest. Eli, typical of the whole priestly order, failed; he departed from that holiness which should characterize God's house and God's priests. As a result of it you see Samuel, the first of the prophets, raised up to take the place of the failed priesthood.

So here, in this great section, you have the prophetic ministry raised up to take the place of that which had failed amongst the people of God. We are brought, as I said, face to face with the holy principles of God's truth, as it were, into the very sanctuary, and it is all the more vivid and real because it is not literally the sanctuary. The presence of the prophet, as we were saying, means that the priest is set aside, and with him all God's usual order which He established in the nation. Instead of there being a succession from father to son in the prophets, there is nothing of that kind at all. The prophet is raised up of God for a special work; he gets his message from God; he gives it to the people; no one comes in between them. And when his work is finished, instead of transmitting his office to somebody else, his work is ended until a fresh work of God begins.*

{*Elijah's anointing Elisha as his successor, while apparently a contradiction of this, is not really so. The testimony from God to Israel went on. Elijah failed to enter into God's thoughts fully — though a most honored servant — and Elisha continues that prophetic ministry.}

When we come to the prophets, we come to God Himself. What a joy it is that in this resurrection-number we have that which speaks of recovery, not merely recovery of what we have lost. God's recovery is always a resurrection, always brings us to a new sphere, into the power of a new state entirely above that from which we ourselves had fallen.

Take that greatest of all illustrations. Man has fallen from his place as the creature perfect from the hands of the Creator. Here comes in grace to recover poor fallen man. Does it put him back in Eden, in man's paradise? Who would exchange the paradise of God, which poor redeemed sinners will share with Him, for the most perfect paradise of man?

God always gives us something better than that which we have forfeited. So we find in the prophets, not merely God's order, not merely His truth for the restoration of His people to the place from whence they have fallen. For instance, the aim of prophetic ministry is not to restore the divided people, to set up a son of David as king over the whole nation. It looks beyond all man's poor puny efforts at recovery, beyond this present time to the time when He whose right it is shall take the kingdom. It raises us up to the plane of Christ's glory, Christ's kingdom.

How good our God is! His truth is like a spiral; it may revolve, it may turn upon itself, as it were, but always ascending, always mounting higher and higher.

Coming now to the books themselves, you have the familiar division into five books. Here you have Isaiah as the first, corresponding to the book of Genesis, in this fact at least that it is the book of origin; it is that which speaks of God as the source of all His people's blessing and of His counsels for His chosen. He begins with God, just as you begin in Genesis with Him. It is God's glory, God's counsels, God's power that is going to accomplish God's blessings. We see that sovereignty manifested in His counsels. God has a plan, has a purpose for His people, and no matter how much they have failed, as we sometimes sing. —
"His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour."
And then it is His chosen, God's elect, brought out so forcibly in this first book of the prophets.

In Jeremiah we have something quite different; Jeremiah with Lamentations added to it, for, as you know, Lamentations takes a place similar to that of Ruth with Judges. Just as you have Judges with Ruth, one book, practically, so you have Jeremiah and Lamentations, one book, and they correspond to Exodus. They give us "divine sorrow, and salvation for a sinful people." The words emphasized there would be sorrow, salvation, and sinful. Nowhere will you find more fully brought out the awfully sinful condition of the people; nowhere will you see divine sorrow poured out through a vessel of earth more fully than in Jeremiah. And beautifully do we have salvation, redemption, brought out in that book.

Then, thirdly, Ezekiel gives us the Leviticus, and its subject might be given as, "cleansing and the sanctuary for a defiled people." It is not a question of salvation primarily, but of cleansing.

Then Daniel brings us amongst the Gentiles, the wilderness or world experience of the prophet. It speaks of the Gentile powers primarily rather than the Jews. Written during the time of the Gentiles, it is the book of Numbers, and it tells us of the "times, testing, and failure of the Gentiles."

That leaves us the twelve minor prophets grouped together as one as we shall see later on. They are the summary of all God's ways; — as in Deuteronomy — the principles and ways of the divine government. Let us touch on a few prominent points in each of these — drawing a little water from wells of inexhaustible fulness.

Isaiah as Genesis is the prince of the prophets, and beautifully appropriate to that, we find that the prophecy is divided into seven parts, the number of perfection stamped upon the book itself. The first division is the first twelve chapters; and these give the whole case of the people gone over, the people's sin, God's restoring mercy, and all centred, as you have in the eleventh chapter, in Christ the stem of Jesse, and the Branch that shall grow out of his roots. In that blessed One we have the counsels of God fulfilled; in Him, the nation which had lost its glory and its right to any blessing, is restored. Through the entire chapter we have beautifully set before us the arm of the Lord gathering His scattered people, bringing them back, and uniting them in the land, and His banner over them is the everlasting love of Christ, and their ruler and their Lord that blessed One whom they have rejected. He is brought before us in this section in the seventh chapter as the son of the virgin, which prophecy is quoted in the first chapter of Matthew.

Another notable chapter in this section with which you are all familiar, is the sixth where we have in a most striking way the majesty and the glory of God, that which on the one hand convicts of sin and on the other witnesses of blessing and righteousness. Here is the prophet brought into the holy presence of God, all that he can say is "woe is me." I have been struck that that woe is the seventh woe in that very connection. You will notice that in the fifth chapter we have six woes pronounced. There is woe upon this and upon that sin, woe upon every class of evil, and when we come to the next chapter, to the seventh woe; it is not woe now for some special sin, or pointing the finger at some one else, but the man brought into the presence of God, says "woe is me, I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips." The sixth chapter thus gives us one of the keys of this section.

Then the next division of the prophet begins at the thirteenth chapter and goes on down through the twenty-sixth chapter. Notice that in this division you have divine judgments, discriminating judgments upon the nations, and upon Israel as well, yea upon the whole earth, executed in order that the salvation of God may have nothing to hinder its full, free exercise.

How good it is as we see the mighty arm of God coming down in stroke after stroke, — the burden upon Babylon — the burden upon Moab — the burden upon Tyre — the burden upon all the great and mighty nations of earth the burden upon His chosen and beloved Israel, the burden upon the whole world — to know that it is to build up and establish His glory permanently in a way that can never be shaken; as we have in another connection in the epistle to the Hebrews: "We having received a kingdom that cannot be moved." And it is good to see at the close of this section, after the prophetic judgments that you have down to the twenty-fourth chapter, in the twenty-fifth notice how the inspired prophet views all this desolation of God. "O Lord Thou art my God I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name for Thou hast done wonderful things, Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." In view of all the desolation he lifts his voice in praise. When man is humbled, when his greatness is brought into the dust, God alone is glorified, His name is magnified,

And then beautifully in the twenty-sixth chapter, the closing of that section, you have a song of salvation, "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah. We have a strong city — salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Do you see the beauty of it? Here is the rod of God smiting everything into the dust; cities are laid low, strong places are made desolate, mighty Babylon and all the great places of the earth are as nothing. Yet in the midst of all this ruin, faith takes up its happy song and says, "we have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Who can shake that which is founded upon the acknowledged ruin of everything, by the mighty power of God Himself? Now read with that thought as the key all through those burdens, you will feel like joining in the song of praise at the close of that section. What a day will it be for Israel when with joy, the beloved Jerusalem, now trodden under foot of the Gentiles, shines in all her beauty so that that which the psalmist says shall be fulfilled, "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God."

But we pass on to the third division of our prophet which begins with the twenty-seventh chapter and goes through the thirty-fifth chapter. In this we have almost exclusively God's holiness brought face to face with Israel's sin. In the second division we reached the point of salvation, but before that salvation can be realized, they have to bottom the truth as to their sin. So in this section which is the third, that speaks of God's holiness, you have their unholiness and sin all manifested, and when it is all brought out, then it is that God can give them blessing. It is only when the sinner not only sees his lost condition, but goes to the bottom of his whole state that he gets full blessing. I believe in this day we often miss enjoying full blessing simply because we are satisfied with mere salvation from the judgment we deserved; because we do not understand the joy of being made partakers of the divine nature. God loves us so much that He gave His blessed Son not merely to bear our sins, but to put away sin, and in His death I see not only my redemption eternally sealed by His blood, but I see myself by that death delivered from the law of sin; so if we are to get true joy, true power, true deliverance, it must be by going through in some way, that which answers to this third division, the holiness of God put side by side with our unholiness.

And you will notice that at the close we have a song. Everything he takes up he develops into a song of praise, whatever it may be. So here, when the theme has been a gloomy one, — so that you might well say the prophet has done his duty, he has accomplished his mission, and has caused God's people to know their sin and that is all. Nay, when it is all gone over, he begins then to praise and worship. The flower of the song of triumph can grow in that dark sombre soil of conviction of sin. See the thirty-fifth chapter, "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, it shall blossom abundantly." And so on down to the eighth verse, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called," (that is what we have been speaking of) "the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those: the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Welcome the holy dealings of God, welcome that which makes me see my sinful nature as well as my transgressions, when His searching leads to that happy burst of song, which we have been looking at; the barren wilderness turned into a fruitful land, where all the blessed fruits of the Lord grow up to His glory!

We pass next to the fourth division, which goes from the thirty-sixth chapter through the thirty-ninth. As you know, it is the historical part of Isaiah, a piece of history dropped into the midst of prophecy. It is the account of the attack of Assyria upon Jerusalem in Hezekiah's day, and they are repulsed not by strength but through weakness. Hezekiah does not lead out an army, he is not able to go forth as the stronger to overthrow the weaker. He takes the place of weakness and lays before God all the threats of the king of Assyria, and God comes in as He always does. He proves that weakness is but the opportunity for His strength. The four chapters are really four sections and exactly correspond to their numerical structure.

Then we come to the fifth, which is a most important section, from the fortieth chapter on through the forty-eighth, closing with the words, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." It is very remarkable: in the first three divisions of the prophet you have judgment as a prominent theme, and at the close a song of praise, and in the last three divisions, you have mercy as the prominent theme and a solemn word of warning at the close. Just as you have here "there is no peace, saith my God, unto the wicked," so at the close of the next section, then at the close of the whole book, where you see the doom of the ungodly visited upon them before the eyes of all. That is interesting as showing that God ever keeps the even balance of His precious truth.

In this fortieth chapter we come to what we all love. Who has not often turned to that first verse "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God." It is a beautiful chapter to read in moments of sorrow, or at any time. But take it in its setting: what do you think goes just before that comfort to the prophet, and comfort to his people, yea and rest for God Himself? It is the prophecy that they are to be carried captive to Babylon, that the nation is to be set aside and judged. In the midst of all that havoc, and judgment for their own unfaithfulness, the word of God looks on to the time when they will be restored. No matter where we are, or how severe the stroke of God's chastening has been upon us, comfort His people He will in spite of us, and bring blessing out of our very folly and failure.

So you find in the fortieth chapter, and all through the whole section, God with His people, for it is a fifth section. He enters into controversy with them as to idolatry. Why did they give His glory to graven images, the work of man's hands? that is the controversy all through this section. We begin now with the sixth section, at the forty-ninth chapter. Here is the number six, and we know that six tells us of two things of the full power of man, but also of the restraining power of God. Man can work his six days, and then God puts His hand upon him and makes him stop. In that very beast (Rev. 13) which represents the quintessence of all human power and energy, you find that his number is six, thrice repeated, as though he made a three-fold effort to leap into perfection, but could only reach the highest form of human power. And that same six tells us of a hand laid upon that power in all its exhibition of might, when he is glorifying himself, when he is compelling all to worship him as God, God's hand is laid upon him.

Now in this sixth section, from the forty-ninth through the fifty-ninth chapter, I have been particularly struck with one thing. It is here we have the fifty-third chapter, which all of us have enshrined in our hearts, for it is the precious truth as to Christ being led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep dumb before her shearers. In that wondrous chapter it seems as if the Spirit of God had rent the thin veil between the past and the future, and instead of speaking of what would be, he speaks of what has been. He sees Jesus before him; so that when Philip went to the Eunuch, when he was returning from Jerusalem and found him reading that chapter, Philip does not have to turn over to another place in the book to tell him about salvation, but beginning at that very scripture he preaches Jesus unto him. Jesus is there beautifully, preciously set forth in His atoning death. But that wonderful chapter is in the section that speaks of the highest form of evil, restrained however, and triumphed over by almighty power. The greatest sin of all others was that of crucifying and rejecting the Lord of glory. There, where man's puny strength reached its highest point, where he seemed to gain the victory, the very Lord of glory in his impious hands, where his guilt in all its heinousness is seen — there too the mighty victory of grace, the hand of the everlasting God is laid upon man's victory, and brings out of that very victory the fulfilment of His purposes of grace. "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound."

That brings us to the last section to look at, from the sixtieth chapter on to the end of the book. Can you be surprised when you come to the sixtieth chapter, that the prophet should say, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come"? What is left but for Zion to shake herself from the dust to arise and shine, not in her own light, but with the glorious light of the Lord that is risen upon her, not to go down again forever? There we find in that seventh section the completion of God's counsels, His purposes all fulfilled, yea even looking beyond the millennial glory. We have in the sixty-fifth chapter a glimpse of eternal glory, the new heavens and the new earth, one of the few passages of the Old Testament which speaks of that — the glory of the Lord revealed, eternally revealed and with all His redeemed entering into final rest. Alas, alas, the judgment upon the ungodly is manifested there at the close too.

I have thus gone at some length into the Book of Isaiah, not only because it is the chiefest and fullest of the prophets, but because it shows us that all the others can be thus analyzed. We must examine Jeremiah more briefly. You are struck with one or two things, the moment we come to the book. The prophet feels every word which he says. Was he telling them of the judgment that was fallen upon them, was he telling them of their sin? it makes such an awful impression upon him that he wished he had never been born, to have to declare such a message. As we tell lost sinners of their condition, do we feel the terror of the message? something like Paul when he says, "knowing the terror of the Lord." Would there not then be something of the divine compassion working through our soul entreating and beseeching, yea weeping over them? See how Jeremiah in the ninth chapter looks upon the sins of those people, whom he could denounce most sternly. "Oh! that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people." Here is no indifference, but a sorrow which though it be human, and though it lead the beloved prophet even sometimes to complain of God, manifests the divine pity working through it. Is it not the sorrow of Him, who when He came near to that beloved city and saw it lying there upon the hills, which God had foretold would be its eternal foundation, wept over it as He said: "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belonged to thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes?" What sorrow, when He could say, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, but ye would not." Sorrow, pity, longing for His beloved people, that is what you find all through Jeremiah. It makes an intensely human book.

The other prominent thought is salvation. It is the second book, an Exodus, which speaks of deliverance, and there is one place amongst others that I would refer to illustrating this, the thirty-first chapter: "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord; refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, thy children shall come again to their own border." You remember that a part of that prophecy is quoted in the gospel of Matthew, the part containing the words of sorrow: Rachel weeping for her children, that are no more, and refusing to be comforted. How beautifully here we have the salvation that is going to succeed that, which is the theme of prophecy.

After the divine judgments upon the people, comes the divine salvation for them. Read on a little. Down in the same chapter, in the twenty-third verse: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; as yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; the Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me." He had to tell them the tale of woe, he had to pour out his tears over a guilty sinful people, but he is here allowed to bring the message of redemption and deliverance. You can imagine the joy with which he would give out such a message to refresh the weary hearts with such sweet words from God Himself.

In the same chapter you have another aspect of salvation. It shows the perpetuity of it. The 31st verse, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, in which I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;" and the 33rd verse, "But this shall be the covenant that I shall make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be My people." It is the new covenant, ordered in all things and sure, which can never be set aside so long as God's creation stands.

It would be well for those who believe in spiritualizing everything that has to do with Israel to look up at yonder heavens, and realize that just as surely as the sun and moon shall endure, so surely shall Israel abide as a nation before God.

Pass on now for a few words as to Lamentations. As I said before, it is a postscript to Jeremiah. It gives us his lamentations, a most beautiful outpouring of the heart of the prophet under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and in it you see a structure, an alphabetical structure, which is most remarkable and interesting. Every chapter is an alphabetic acrostic but the last; that is, you have the whole twenty-two letters of the alphabet in each chapter in order, and you have the twenty-two verses in the last chapter. In the third chapter, the resurrection number, you have three times that alphabet; that is, you have three verses for each letter of the alphabet, stamping in this way the numerical order upon the whole book.

Ezekiel. This is the Levitical, or third book, the book of the sanctuary, and the thought of priestly holiness runs through the whole of it. In the first chapter and the third verse we see that the prophet belongs to the priestly family. He is a prophet not because he is a priest, but priestliness characterizes the whole book. Take for instance, two or three very prominent themes in it. From the fortieth chapter till toward the close you have the reestablishment of God's sanctuary amongst the people; priestly Order, priestly sacrifice, the temple rebuilt; in fact, the whole land as a sanctuary for God. You have the entire land divided amongst the people, and you notice that the city is there in the midst of that land which is the glory of all lands; that city with its twelve gates is a type of that other city, which is described in the latter part of Revelation. We have most beautifully the sanctuary name of it, Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there.

You find when holiness is the theme that it manifests all that is contrary to it. It has been remarked by another, that in Isaiah and Jeremiah you have the name of the covenant God of Israel; Isaiah the salvation of Jehovah, and Jeremiah, ending with Jehovah also, whereas in Ezekiel and Daniel, you have not Jehovah's name, but "El," or "God" almighty, as one who is outside of His people.

Ezekiel does not only give the holiness that I have spoken of, but it tells us that God is outside the people. Ezekiel is among the captives at the river Chebar, and while he is there he sees the glory of the Lord, that glory that was upon the cherubim, those mighty agents of divine power, the real cherubim, rather than the typical golden ones. Outside the land, away off by distant Chebar, a prophet with a name which suggests not the covenant-God, sees visions of God outside of Israel. If you turn over to the third chapter of the same book and the 23rd verse, "Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar; and I fell on my face." It is the glory of God.

Again, at the eighth chapter, at the 3rd and 4th verses, "And He put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God unto Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the North, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain." Here you have God's glory and the image that provoked Him to jealousy side by side. He has already been outside of the land, but now he is going to bear witness to the righteousness of His being outside. He brings Ezekiel — lifts him up by omnipotent power, and sets him again in Jerusalem, as though He would say to him, "I will vindicate to you the reason of my absence from that city where I promised My name should be forever."

Right there in the holy place, the image of jealousy and the glory of God; as much as to say, Put My glory alongside of that which is a shame to Me and what can I do? All through the eighth chapter, He leads the prophet to one abomination after another. He shows him the elders of the people worshiping the rising sun, the women weeping for Tammuz. Thus the awful defilement of the people is put alongside of His glory, the jealous glory of the Holy God. What can be done? Let us trace it on a little further. The ninth chapter and the third verse, "And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the Cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the House. And He called to the man clothed with linen which had the writer's ink-horn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the forehead of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."

Notice here the wondrous grace coming in with divine holiness. The glory takes its first step to withdraw from that temple where God's name was put. His honor cannot stand where He is dishonored; He will not abide where His glory is given to others. But here is a man clothed with white linen, emblematic of the holiness of God, with the ink-horn to make the record as to everyone; and He says, before I seal the doom of that accursed place, look for those who are the remnant that love and honor Me. But how are they known? by their bright cheerfulness? by that which makes them a remarkable people? In the midst of that apostasy God has a people who are noted by their sighing and crying for the abominations.

Look at that reluctant glory, that rises up. "How can I give thee up," we hear; "my repentings are kindled." He pauses, and He sends His messenger to see how many there may be in that city, who love and care for Him. In the tenth chapter, and the fourth verse, the glory of the Lord cannot tarry in that unholy and polluted place.

"Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim; and the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight, when they went out the wheels also were beside them, and they stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above." How solemn, how awful the sight! God's glory taking its departure, for the abomination and the defilement of the land! Read further in the eleventh chapter, the latter part, the twenty-third verse: "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city,. and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city." There it departed, — it left the city.

That gives us the side as to man's responsibility, the defilement of the sinful people.

But grace will have its way; and this we find over in the latter part of the prophet, in the forty-third chapter, when God's work is done and the people have repented of their sins and been restored to their land. "Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east," (the very gate out of which that glory had departed) "and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory." There, it comes back again; the glory is to be a covering upon that beloved city, "for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." In that restored glory returning to the temple, filling it again, — yea, filling it in a way that it had never before been filled, for it is in connection with Christ Himself — you find blessing flows out to the nations. The waters flows from the throne of God in the sanctuary of His temple down towards the Dead Sea. It brings fertility and blessing wherever it goes. This shows us the theme of the entire prophecy. You see there is a unity displaying the holiness and the mercy of God, who after chastening them, bring them back in full eternal blessing.

I add one or two more thoughts. In the thirty-seventh chapter, we have another characteristic of this third division, the resurrection of Israel as a nation. Three, you know, is the number of resurrection, as for instance, the Lord's resurrection on the third day. In this chapter, you have put before you the resurrection of Israel, not literally of those who have died, but of the scattered people from amongst the nations. This is seen in the prophet's vision of the dry bones in the valley quickened into life and standing up, a mighty army.

In the same chapter, we have beautifully set before us also, the reunion of Israel and Judah, brought together as one people. He takes two pieces of a staff in his hand, and they unite in one. How beautiful it is, that in God's day, when the Lord shall take up the staff of Israel and of Judah, it will become reunited in His hand. It shall be one, as it had never been since the division, All efforts in the past have been futile. King Rehoboam might fight to bring back the revolted tribes, but it was utterly impossible. So with the efforts of other kings: Hezekiah might send out a gracious invitation for Israel to come back to the God of their fathers; a few individuals might be restored; but it is only a temporary, partial thing. But when the mighty Son of God takes hold of His people, that broken staff will be reunited and become one, a rod, a sceptre, by which He will reign over the whole earth. Thus is fittingly set before us in this book of Ezekiel, the resurrection of the nation and their being reunited as one people, manifesting to all the earth the power of God in resurrection.