J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)
Note, in prophecy, there are the elect people who are to inherit, who tremble at God's word. The Lord appears to their joy.
There is a temple built by the nation which the Lord disowns. The Lord speaks from the Temple.
This affects the nations - it is recompense to His enemies.
The glory appears then on this gathering of the nations.
The Gentiles bring in, thereon, the scattered Israelites.
We have a very clear example in Isaiah 8 of the order of prophetic teaching in its connection with present things, and yet passing, as it must as presenting the mind of God, on into the future fulfilment of His mind, and how far it takes up present things - I mean things connected with Christ's first coming. Israel is judged, in chapter 5, on the ground of what it was first planted by God; in chapter 6 on the ground of the Lord's glory to be revealed. It was not fit for it. But there was another intervention of God after all was lost as to responsibility of Israel. When the ark was lost and Ichabod was written on Israel, God raises up a prophet. Sovereign grace forms a link of grace. And, following on this, in David the ark is brought back, and the house of David becomes a new stay for the people - grace in power, "We are come to Mount Zion." This fails, and in chapter 7 the notion of the Remnant, intimated in a remarkable way in the end of the chapter, is brought forward, and, when the heir of the house of David shows his unbelief and wearies God, the prophetic witness steps in and gives sign or testimony of grace. Emmanuel, God with us, is introduced. Then, in chapter 8, the prophet turns to circumstances, and the state of the people. They were seeking, in human strength and confederacies, to arrest men's hostile power and intrigues. The Lord tells the prophet, and in him the returning Remnant, not to walk in this way. He was to sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself. Still the Assyrian, the outward hostile power, would come up to the neck. He did in Sennacherib's days then, and will hereafter. But Emmanuel having been brought in, all came to nought, for it was into "Emmanuel's Land" he had come, and they would be broken to pieces, for Emmanuel, God was with them.
But this introduction of Emmanuel, in connection with the Assyrian, necessarily leads him to Christ, God manifest in the flesh, who was their Emmanuel. And we get the instruction of the Remnant, "Say not a confederacy, but sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and he shall be for a sanctuary." Then the full bearing of the great question with Israel, Jehovah not only dealing with but come to Israel, is dealt with. "He shall be a stone of stumbling." Then the law and testimony is sealed up in the Remnant, and the Spirit of Christ waits for "the Lord who hides his face from the house of Israel," and thus He and "the children which God hath given" Him are "for signs and for wonders."
136 Now here we are broken off at once as to any pursuing the tree and chain of promise in Israel (though God will fulfil it) because if He is hiding His face from the house of Israel, and hence cannot, even in the Remnant, set it up again, they look to fires of their own kindling, to wizards that peep and mutter. They are without Jehovah. Every people would look to their God - not Israel. Thus they get into the depths of sorrow and irritation instead of repentance. But though thus in far deeper anguish than in the first visitation of Israel, all is trouble and darkness. Yet in this last dominion of Gentile power, light had sprung up in Galilee. There was Emmanuel, who had never been before - the great light had been there, and now the prophet, in the utter extremity of the people (depicted in verses 21, 22), bursts forth into the full consequence of this Emmanuel. He becomes the triumphant Deliverer for final blessing and peace. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts would do it. Thus, on the failure of the last resource of Israel, according to the flesh, in the house of David, God brings in Emmanuel.
He then gives the present needed warnings and encouragements needed by the people. They are to trust Jehovah and to give Him His just place in their hearts, but then the manifestation of Him brings in Christ, and all these purposes and patiences entirely theirs. This is pursued on through the first coming, and the rejection of Israel, on to the second in deliverance and glory, when Israel was at the lowest point. But then, in fact, when the Remnant became disciples, upright as Jews, and His children by grace, and the Spirit, and the law and testimony was sealed up in them, what was to be done? They could not be Israel - Jehovah's face was hid from Israel. The New Testament tells us only exactly, though full occasion and room is left for it here, "The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved" - this very Remnant.
137 Then note the difference. Israel (as on the great day of atonement) cannot know, till the Great High Priest comes out, whether His sacrifice has been accepted. It may, prophetically, hope so, but waits to see Him whom they have pierced. But we do not. He is not come out, but, on the contrary, set down, for it was the Lord "on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens." But the Holy Ghost is come out, being given to those who believe, and we also do know the acceptance and perfection for ever of those that are His - yea, the veil is rent, and heaven is open to us - yea, we are one with Him. But this is New Testament knowledge by the Holy Ghost. The prophecy shows exactly where it comes in, but passes from the state of the people, when even the house of David had failed, and all were looking to man, Emmanuel being introduced in promise, to the whole history of Israel from that moment to His appearing in glory and triumph for Israel.
The final earthly purpose is held in view in connection with Christ, but the present needed encouragement given with promise - the final blessing being a guarantee for present keeping, for faith. Heavenly things are simply passed over (only God hides His face from Israel), to those that are not earthly connected with them. Other prophecies may give only details, but they all fall into their own place in this plan of God - "Are not of any private interpretation."
Note, in passing, that Isaiah 18 gives the key to the third Book of the Psalms.
Note too, in Jeremiah, how, even in denouncing Israel, and telling all the evil coming on them, the Lord takes notice of and knows all the sorrows of His people. This is fulness of grace.
In Ezekiel, God is on the Throne of supreme majesty - retired into His own place, and visiting according to this His place among men. He comes out of the North (intimating the judgment, I doubt not, of Nebuchadnezzar) but it is still the same thought - judgment in majesty. Hence a terrible word, moral reproof according to the mind and judgment of His Spirit is closed. Ezekiel is dumb, save as God opens his mouth and makes him speak His words. The living creatures sustained here or formed the Throne. Where the Spirit was to go they went.
God is with the captivity, not with the house, and therefore has retired to His sovereign place of the Throne. They are treated as rebellious there, and He visits Jerusalem now in judgment. He acts on it from outside. Hence, too, Ezekiel is son of man and dumb, because it is not the Spirit of God speaking from His place within, but to, in His Majesty without. In Jeremiah, He still begins within - He says he must set his face as a flint; and whoever goes out to the Chaldaeans shall save his life - owns the judgment. God takes His place in purpose in all Israel. As sparing within, judgment must be owned - spiritual sense knows it is over. Hence, after being brought among them dumb, Ezekiel is taken into his house and besieges Jerusalem. Then he is brought to be shown, and declare the state of the judged and God's once place (His own house) upon earth. Here (discriminating the saints) judgment is executed - for what was Nebuchadnezzar? Here the living creatures are full of eyes, as well as the wheels.
138 Next, we may remark that (for God appears more in primeval majesty in Ezekiel than elsewhere, because He is not speaking within but from without) we have the king of Tyre as "the anointed cherub that covereth," and to be destroyed as the covering cherub. Hence it is a creature, however exalted - I suppose Satan fallen (with many others) but a creature here, which had its place connected with the Throne of God - God having set it so and officially anointed. "Covering," alluding to the word has-so-chech constantly used of the cherubim over the ark (consequently denoting what was creature, however used) that it was connected with precious stones, and walked up and down among stones of fire, that which reflects and displays, in its various prismatic beauty through a medium, the pure light of God. Hence the names of the people were on them, and the heavenly Jerusalem has them for foundations. They are divine qualities, not essential Light - that God is. Here he was familiar and at home. Christ secures His people in them, connects them with them as engraved there, and they are basis of the heavenly glory. They were displayed on the fallen cherub, and he was amongst them.
Further he was in the garden of delight of God in Eden, amongst those who had their place in His garden of delights. But he took pleasure in his own beauty and fell - perfect from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him. It was the fallibility of a creature. The beauty and enjoyment, be they what they might, were lost by the internal failure - "He abode not in the truth, for there was no truth in him." How does the blessed Lord Christ shine out in contrast here! How sure a place was "on the breast-plate"! How incapable the creature of standing in any place!
139 Note, the iniquity was found in him - it was "looking at his own beauty." Lord, keep us from this! For how vile to attribute this beauty to ourselves! And yet we should all have this devilish propensity, save as kept. Look at the brightness which is in the stone! We are engraved on it, and call it our own because we are engraved on it and it bears us. Dependence was lost, and what natural quality was became a power of evil.
Here then we have the same general idea of Cherub - one connected with the attributes and qualities of God as a vessel of service, as a creature near to Himself and connected with the Throne. Note in the beginning of Ezekiel they are obedient and dependent - where the Spirit was to go, they went. And they had a place, when God went in the way of visitation.
We have, finally, the living creatures in the Apocalypse. They are, again, connected with the Throne and judgment - not properly counsel. They worship, i.e., they ascribe honour - the elders worship. They are in the circle of the Throne, but it is a sessional Throne in heaven, not an active one. They invite to the opening of the seals, but the Lamb opens them. They own Him in ascribing glory. They are heads of creation in genus. They celebrate the holiness and unchangeableness of Jehovah Elohim Shaddai, night and day. And thereon the twenty-four elders fall down before Him on the Throne unchangeable, and own Him as Creator and for whom all is created. Next, they (one of them) give the vials of wrath (note that was the wrath of God filled up) but do not pour them out in that judgment. They invite, as we have seen, to see the seals open. All this is, as we have seen, before, save that they do not move nor go forth in activity, the Throne being in heaven, for all was associated with the Creation-blessings. For the Jews as a system were so, and failed in that place. Their Sabbath was Creation-sabbath. This makes chapter 5 more important, and to be much studied. One thing we know - that Jesus' name is above every name by divine right, and title of perfect work, too. They say "Amen" to the worship of every creature offered to the Lamb, and to Him that sitteth upon the Throne. The twenty-four elders thereon worship Him who changes not.
140 Note, also, the song, in respect of which the vials are given, in chapter 15, and also verse 7. On the whole, the character of these living creatures seems in principle the same, save, as I have said, the active energy is not there. It is in the Lamb. The horns and eyes, seven spirits sent forth are there, and He comes forth at the close.
All things are cleansed by blood, and all things secured by blood - all things in heaven and earth (which He the Son had made for Himself) are reconciled, "having made peace by the blood of his cross" referring, I apprehend, to the day of atonement. I am not aware that anywhere else it is said egorasas hemas (hast redeemed us, Revelation 5:9). Hence the importance of this. But I do not think the living creatures come in the company of the enthroned redeemed Church. They are rather the furniture of the Throne itself, on which He that "liveth for ever and ever" sat.
The Apostle sees a throne and thrones, but the living creatures were not there, but, after describing the sea of glass, we get the elders too - they were in the circle and round the Throne. It is with them the ceaseless celebration of God the Creator, Jehovah Elohim Shaddai. There is action with the elders, that is awakened feeling, thrones cast down, a worthiness understood, and spiritually reasoned on - the good pleasure of God understood and delighted in.
As regards chapter 5 nothing very certain can be drawn from so uncertain a text. One thing is clear - they fall down before the Lamb and worship. It is not "they sung," which would make it an act thereupon, but "they sing." The introduction of the Lamb awakens this song. It is certain that all beings are sustained by Christ, and received, and reconciled as to condition by His blood, but I know not that any are redeemed but elect men. If any of these, which I doubt, are in the place of the Cherubim, I should judge it not the Church but those who specially trusted in the throne of Jehovah Elohim Shaddai, who are as much of course redeemed as the rest. The twenty-four elders would be the Church having the mind of Christ. In spite of the absence of grammar in the Apocalypse, the hemas (us) and autous (them) here present serious difficulties. It is to be noted that the living creatures and elders have harps and bowls of incense which are the prayers of others - of saints. I should be disposed much to read with A and Aethiop.: without the "us" (hemas) at all after "redeemed," and make all go on to "them" (autous), or, if there were authority for it, with 44, hemon as in verse 10. Note there is no intercession - they have bowls full of prayers, "which were the prayers." It is not incense added to them. These saints, if this were so, though yet under trial, would be the "them" (autous). The Angels are not in chapter 4, note.
141 The harps only seemed to identify with the song, but if hemas (us) be interpolated or put for hemon (our) it would be all very simple. On the whole, worship or celebration of glory, however, is added as to the Cherubim. They are less mysterious rather in position, but they are in act identified with power, and judgment, and providence, not with Church-intelligence. But then it is not principalities and powers associated (in service) with the Throne in mysterious Majesty. There they are. But the Lamb has perfect power in Himself - the seven horns, and wisdom, and energy of the Spirit - seven eyes. He is in the midst of the Throne, and is now worshipped by them, possessing all power in His Person. They invite these lower down, and see. As to eyes, they are not, in themselves, divine. We read of the "eyes of the Lord." "Seven eyes" is perfect spiritual intelligent energy, but we read of another having the eyes of a man. They are intelligence, Spiritual intelligence, and divine intelligence in their place, perception, and gathering in knowledge, according to their respective capacity. See note on this among the notes on the Psalms.
I doubt much even of the present reformed text, in chapter 5:9, but am unwilling to tamper with it. There are several questions. First, to whom does "they sing" refer? Is it general, as often in Revelation - on chante. Does it refer to "Saints"? This I hardly think. Do the harps connect themselves with it? Next egorasas to theo hemas (thou hast redeemed us to God) - is this right? Or is hemas (us) to be shut out, so that "Thou hast redeemed" would rest on "them," with "hast made"? Or is it "to our God" as afterwards, with 44? The only analogous passage I know is 2 Samuel 8, and parallel passage, i.e., "redeemed to God" is not elsewhere - "purify to himself a people of possession" or "purchase" we have. In no other case have we living creatures expressing reasons for worship, but as elders we have. It might perhaps come in. They ever do, even in chapter 4. Further the "them" (autous) afterwards makes the saints the natural subject of praise - those whose prayers they have in their bowls, i.e., those still suffering down here, in whose hope they would string their harps. This would much fall in with the whole scope of the Book, as chapter 11. "The accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them," etc. The omission of "us" has weighty authority, but I am unwilling to tamper with Scripture on uncertain readings. The other "them" seems on the fullest authority, all but unanimous. It is possible that these above, Old and New Testament saints may celebrate their common redemption to God, and specially for the others who seemed in a bad position for it, as left on earth, declare that they would be kings and priests, and reign, whatever their position now. If so, then "them" would lean on "with those coming out of the great tribulation" and after.
142 The cases cited by Bengel, on Revelation 5:10, to show that autous is used for hemas, prove nothing. He refers to Matthew 23:37, and Jude 24. The passage in Matthew is "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that … stonest them that are sent unto thee." So Isaiah 47:8, the sitting, the confident who says in her heart; in verse 11 (not 10) auton refers to the pit (bathunos) into which she will fall. In Jude 24 autous is very doubtful, Bengel and Tischendorf alone edit it - Tischendorf on the authority of Vat. Cott. B.S. 3, 5, and some thirty others - Bengel saying, Edd: primae et M.SS. The Vulgate and Beza have humas, hence the more recent ones. Were it there, it would refer to hous and hous in verse 23. There is no hemas before it. Revelation 18:24, is perfectly simple. It is the historical statement of the inspired author, not the language of the Angel saying "Thee."
Ezekiel, as we have seen elsewhere, leaves out all the operation and history of the beasts, and takes up the nations short of their rising, and being such (the taking of the Throne from Jerusalem) and those after the beasts are done with, and the question is between Israel and the nations. The divisions of Ezekiel seem thus: chapters 1-7 the question was raised on the glory of the Lord in Israel, shown to the prophet; the commission. It was to the nation, the children of Israel. First sent to the captivity of Chebar, for it was general - then to the city Jerusalem, or rather concerning them. "Hear or forbear" - but it involved this siege, representatively the whole nation, then the "mountains of Israel," and an end on the four corners of the Land. Chapters 8-19, the judgments and reasoning with them.
143 Ezekiel 1
In Ezekiel the prophet's place is quite outside Jerusalem, by the river Chebar. He is carried there to see the judgment executed, but the glory of the Lord goes there (it led Nebuchadnezzar in judgment) to judge, and it shows, come what will, His throne on the Cherubim is always there, far beyond its special application, even in the midst of the people. And this is a very important consideration. He has found Himself in the midst of the people in condescending grace and wisdom, but that was but a special manifestation in great favour and for the manifestation of His glory. His people had been unfaithful to it, but that took the seat of the Throne - the Throne, and not Jehovah off His Throne. He led up Nebuchadnezzar there. Hence, the Throne is here so high it is dreadful, not in the near condescendence of grace. It comes, views, judges, and departs. It is terrible when it is thus, with what had been the place of the Throne. At the end of Ezekiel, it becomes again so. And compare the entry, departure, and ascension of Jesus in lowliness, as prophesied, but still the King. To us the Throne is a Throne of grace, but all power is Jesus' in heaven and earth, "Go ye therefore," etc. The glory of God had not, however, left the House definitely as yet, when Ezekiel was carried there; see Ezekiel 8:6. It is touching to see, even here (see chapter 11) in the midst of judgment, the intercession and sure promise of grace.
- 26. How exceedingly sweet it is, and what a reassuring centre it gives, and most wonderful, that in all the intentionally mysterious and terrible glory of God, a Man is on the firmament above! God has for man, and for all, wide and terrible glories - brightness of surpassing light - but when He reveals Himself, He is a Man however glorious. The heathen seized something of the attribute-glory of God, and their representations of God were Cherubic - the best of them. God, revealed, sits above or between all these, and there as a Man. Were there any idea of God as Man, it was corrupt and sinful man - his known passions and fears.
144 Ezekiel 3
Note much how Ezekiel sees the glory, is sent to Tel Abib, then says nothing, is sent into his house and bands upon him not to go out amongst them only when God opens His mouth with "He that heareth let him hear, and he that forbeareth let him forbear." He has no reasoning with them in the spirit of bringing them back. But note to whatever height the prophet is raised, he never departs from the plain ground of right and wrong obvious to the conscience; see verses 17, 18. High pretensions to prophetic testimony if they depart from the elements of moral truth, instead of bringing high sanctions to them, needed perhaps by the obduracy of man, and for the support of faith in such circumstances, are more than to be suspected.
The character of this prophecy is much to be observed - it is judgment, different from Jeremiah 15. In Jeremiah, God, evil as their ways were, still reasons with their heart - He speaks. It is not said to him, "Thou shalt be dumb." His heart speaks, though He sore afflicted and as afflicted; but the strong hand of God, in His majesty, is on Ezekiel. God wanders about, as it were alone, in Ezekiel, and what can He say in the midst of such a people? If in Spirit He go to Jerusalem, He went alone with the prophet, and, showing him these things in vision, take notice of all the sin which He can no longer hide from Himself, and from the testimony of judgment. It is in the Temple - should He dwell with it, and make a throne along with evil? His sanctuary was defiled; Ezekiel 5:11, 13.
- 26. How largely the vision that Saul had of the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ opened his mouth, and flowed forth in beseeching grace!
The Cherub of Ezekiel is not properly the government of God at Jerusalem - there we see the Cherubic faces fixed on the ark of the covenant, and made of one piece with the mercy-seat - the tranquil, hidden, righteous Throne of God. Here it is the supreme and sovereign Throne of God in all the world. A Spirit which goes, and actually is manifested by a whirlwind coming out of the North, and visits Jerusalem, where the Lord (not the Cherub) stands on the threshold. He has left the throne. It is nothing less than the government of heaven and earth, or from heaven, the earth if you will. The government was above the heads of the Cherubs, and the throne above the firmament. This was superior, so to speak, to the habitual Throne at Jerusalem, though the same Jehovah. But then the Lord quits Jerusalem, and takes His place in this public and indefeasible sovereignty, of which, while in the rebellion of will, the enterprises of Nebuchadnezzar, etc., even were but the expression. Antichrist, it is true, is another thing - there it is a defiance from the earth, Satan being cast down who gives his throne to the beast.
145 Ezekiel 12
- 6. Twilight - so in verses 7 and 12; used only in Genesis 15:17. It means, I doubt not, obscurity, thick darkness.
- 22. Whatever progress we make, it is always well to remember this - "The days of thy youth when thou was naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood."
- 55. It does not say they will or will not be, nor mean to say anything of it, but that the judgment of Israel would be as the worst of the heathen, as they had deserved it should be, and, if restored, it would be on ground on which Sodom might be, and so it will be. In verse 61, this restoration by grace is spoken of, but, while the grace to Israel is just as sovereign and free, yet God remembers promise to Israel; verse 60. On this ground the Gentile is not. Hence, though equally restored from judgment, they are not on the same footing as Israel then. I hardly think it is merely law here, though that be fully true. It was independent of Israel. The others would be restored, though given to them as daughters.
All that is attempted to be drawn from this chapter in an Arminian sense is without foundation. It is the replacing of the Jewish principle of government, that the "children should die for their fathers' sins," by the declaration that "each should die for his own." We may know, and do know, from other instructions of the Holy Scriptures, the terrible effect of a man's dying in his sins; but it is not directly the subject here, for then a son's soul would have been lost, by the law, for his father's sins, which is monstrous. It is the government of Jehovah which is the subject of the chapter.
146 Ezekiel 20
Note, the elders of Judah are distinguished from the elders of Israel; see chapter 8:1. But then Israel is looked at as the nation as a whole; compare Ezekiel 37:16, and the general use of the word "Israel," as Ezekiel 19:1, 17:2, and many others.
- 36. This passage used to be a difficulty in connection with the clear evil that was amongst the Jews in the Land in the latter day, but it seems to make both the distinction and circumstances of Israel, and also the bearing of Ezekiel plainer than before - so, ever. In chapter 8 we have the elders of Judah, but not after. Israel is the subject which afterwards is before the prophet; compare also Ezekiel 9, 10 and 11. Particularly too, see Ezekiel 11:15-16 and 17, as to our Lord's ministry, and consider the distinction between the power and tribes as other than the Jews, or how far then as a scattered nation; see Zechariah, and Ezekiel 37. Here the "house of Israel" seems to include them nationally, but the house of Israel in Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem are constantly spoken of distinctly while Zedekiah was there. Except the refusal to be enquired of, and consequent judgment in this chapter, none of the statements in Ezekiel are addressed to those concerning whom they are spoken. It still recognises Israel in Jerusalem, and speaks about it till taken, though giving warning concerning the captives; compare Ezekiel 3, 15, 16, 23:26-27; 24 and 25:7. The testimony would be a witness to them in the dispersion, but, when spoken to Israel, was about those in Jerusalem and in the Land.
- 16. Query if the expression in the word ni-khal (shalt be profaned; A.V., "shalt take thine inheritance") has not a double sense.
147 Ezekiel 24
- 1. These dates and those in Ezekiel 20:1 and 8:1, seem computed from Jehoiakim's captivity; see Ezekiel 1:2. Compare also 2 Kings 25:1.
To understand what is said of the king of Tyre, we must compare chapter 31:8-9.
- 11. Read from this verse to Ezekiel 32:21, and compare Psalm 89:7. In Isaiah 9, the use of El Gibbor (the Mighty God) does not apply, in its direct force, to the essential deity of Christ, although being in righteousness it must be divine. He must be God, but it is His position not His nature which is asserted. For this we may compare, where the words show the force of the comparison, the passages above cited, and see also El (God) in any dictionary or concordance.
"The Father of Eternity," I confess, presents to me no scriptural or intelligible idea. In a word, these are His offices. His glory we know, who are Christians, who have received the knowledge of who (so far) He is; how too, He is entitled to it, being in very deed "the Son of the living God," "with God," and "God himself." It seems to me a great mistake to refer Isaiah 11:5, to anything of the essential divinity of His Person, I mean Avi-ad (everlasting Father). It is clear to me that it refers to the characteristics in which He shall be exhibited in the millennial day. Being born to the Jews, they begin to celebrate what He is; compare Isaiah 22:21. I do not mean but this is a higher and fuller recital that is more simply the Judaic rule. The quotation of Isaiah 55:3, in Acts 13:33-34, opens out the manner of connection of the two. His essential deity, qualifying Him to hold it is another question. By His resurrection life (in which He was declared to be "the Son of God with power") He was enabled to sustain abidingly the guidance and rule (in blessing, as the Fountain of honour and blessing) the government, and the rule of His house. It was in His resurrection life ("living for ever," as Melchizedek) He became Avi-ad. He was the Jehovah of the Jews, and being now manifested amongst them, holding the throne of David, He became and was the Avi-ad - the abiding Source of secured blessing, because of being who He was; compare the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the common use of the word "Father" in the Jewish Scriptures. Neither ad olam (for ever) nor aion express eternity abstractedly; compare the New Testament, and also eis to dienekes ("for ever" - "in perpetuity"). "Head of the millennium" is its concrete form.
148 Ezekiel 33
This is the testimony of righteousness against carnal assurance - a prophet amongst them in the Land. The city was smitten then, and so the kingdom of the beast in the Land; but the subject was the city smitten.
- 24. Note the same principle in this and other passages - the evidence of unbelief or faith, according as proposed by the flesh, or by the Lord, and, on the other hand, that the opposite principles are evidence of unbelief, when the moral circumstances are changed. Thus, here "Abraham was one, and we are many, the land is given us for an inheritance," in the condition of sin and rebellion, was unbelief and wickedness. In Isaiah 51:2, it is presented as the warrant and assurance of faith, and they are called to lean upon this warrant - that Abraham was but one, and yet blessed and multiplied. Oh! for faith!
On the other hand, when Israel came out of Egypt, it was just their sin and unbelief to say, "Is the Lord among us or not?" Exodus 17:7. In Micah 3:11, it is their sin and presumption, to say, "Is not the Lord among us? No evil shall come upon us.
This sets aside their shepherds (see Zechariah 10:3 - Judah first) and gives David in promise - the Lord being their God.
Seir is here judged. The reproach of famine taken away.
149 Ezekiel 36
The reference to this chapter in John 3, by the Lord, is a distinct proof that the promises here are not fulfilled.
This chapter renews them and plants them in their land - all Israel.
All Israel is restored out of the graves. They are to be put with "the stick of Judah." Israel is to be taken from among the heathen.
- 26. I cannot doubt that the writer had this verse in his mind, when he wrote Hebrews 13:20.
Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39
Israel is brought out of the nations, and dwells safely, all of them. Gog comes up against the Land, and falls. Israel shall know from that day. Then the captivity is really brought again; see Psalm 126. The heathen know too that He is the Lord. The Spirit here has been poured out upon the house of Israel.
Though the description is the description of the Temple, yet in the beginning of verse 2, he sees "the frame of a city on the south," from the high mountain so that, whatever the arrangement of the measured land, there was a connection between the city and the sanctuary. "He brought me there." As to the mountain, also, the city was alav (above it).
- 17. Whatever the reason, there seem to be steps to the altar, u-ma-a-lotha-hu (and its steps) here, and none allowed in Exodus 20:26, bh'ma-a-loth (by steps). The reason is given there.
- 15, 17. Note there is no mention of making atonement, in Leviticus, with the peace-offering or the meat-offering - with the burnt-offering (Lev. 1) there is. Indeed, nowhere is there, even with the peace-offering unless in these verses before us, where burnt-offering, and, in verse 17, sin offering are also mentioned. In Hebrews 13:15, we have evidently priestly service in direct worship. In the Apocalypse, the heavenly priests have surely, in chapter 5, an intercessional or mediatorial character in their service. In chapter 20 they are priests to God and to Christ. In 1 Peter 2:5, they offer up spiritual sacrifices, where, I apprehend, it is direct worship Wherever, in Israel, an individual priest was a mediator, he represented, I apprehend, Christ - and then the body of priests are saints. If there is associate priesthood, as associate royalty, it is as connected with Christ, in either participatory in His place. But proper worship is the place of the nation of priests, though there may be a greater nearness implied than others. Further, it is with God as God. All can have "an advocate with the Father" - a priest is with God. In Revelation 1:6 only we have "priests to his God and Father," but I apprehend, in another sense. It is God's relationship to Christ as Man, and God, who is His Father, is viewed towards us as God. We worship also the Father.
150 For many points, this difference of the meat and peace-offering is important. Here alone Kaphar (make atonement) is used with the peace-offerings and meat-offerings, but then burnt-offering, and, in verse 17, sin-offerings are found also, so that it does not affect the general truth.
- 24, 25. I find Pentecost is omitted here, as we have seen, the day of atonement, and the red heifer; as to sacrifices, these omissions are remarkable.