« הקודםהמשך »
its walls, temples, palaces, and hanging gardens, and other things, are described with such pomp and magnificence by heathen authors, that it might deservedly be reputed one of the wonders of the world.” It was "the glory of kingdoms; the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency” (Isa. xiii. 19); "the golden city” (Isa. xiv. 4); and, like the old world before the deluge, like Sodom and Gomorrah before it was destroyed by fire, rested in perfect security. Her language was, “ I shall be a lady for ever: I am, and none else beside me: I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of chil. dren” (Isa. xlvii. 7, 8).
Yet, when the time was arrived which God by the mouth of his prophet had foretoldalthough it did appear improbable ; although it was NOT BELIEVED; although Babylon was resting in strength and security ; and, as Daniel said to Belshazzar, in that fatal night when the city was taken, “ the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, thou hast not glorified ; "-yet, when the seventy years had expired, by means of an unexampled military device of Cyrus, the threatened destruction overtook them. So necessary is it, not to judge from appearances, or to rest in human resources, but to take the word of God for our guide: for if Babylon, so much against all probability, fell, what security have the nations of way, how.
Europe in their armies, and in their navies, and in their other fancied resources, against the equally express declarations of Jehovah ? Let the time but arrive when the same people whom the Babylonians held in captivity-and whom we, in common with other nations, now have dwelling amongst us-shall be restored again, after so long a captivity, to their own land ; and no decrees of princes, kings, or emperors, no obstacles that can possibly be thrown in the soever strong and powerful, shall prevent it. If God has said, their oppressors shall all be overthrown, that word must be accomplished. And what is there, in the wide range of possibilities, either intellectual, moral, or physical, to stay their fall ? “ Who is he that saith, and it shall come to pass, if the Lord commandeth it not ?"
The deep regard which God has expressed towards the Jews, the covenant relation in which He stands towards them, and the unexampled miracles and deliverances He hath at various times wrought for them, attach an inexpressible degree of importance to them as a people. Nations which have in former times oppressed them, have, as we have seen, incurred Jehovah's severest vengeance: and it may be added, that nations which have been kind to them have had their cup of judgment mingled with mercy. The Persian monarchs, for instance, the successors of Cyrus, haughty, voluptuous, and despotic as they were, in many instances treated the Jews with distinguished favour. They issued several edicts, at different periods, granting them many privileges, by which they were reinstated, under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, in their own land : and hence the kingdom of Persia to this day exists, whilst that of Babylon is a desolation without an inhabitant, a dwelling-place for dragons, and a hissing, “a land where no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby” (Isai. xiii. 19); whilst also ancient Greece and Pagan Rome have been utterly overthrown!
Last quarter of the Jewish church—Persian Edicts_Favour granted to the Jews in the time of Esther and Mordecai -Edict of Artaxerxes—Importance of the character of Ezra_DEATH OF CHRIST_Outline of the great doctrines of the Gospel—The institution of the Lord's Supper—The song of glorified spirits and of angelsThe closing of the Scriptures—The anointing of the church—The outpouring of the Spirit—The FIRST peculiarity of this prophetical period—John the BaptistChrist's ministry—Importance of the study of Prophecy— Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans—The SECOND peculiarity of this period— The THIRD-Language of prophetical dates—Times of warning given - Dispersion of the Jews among all nations-Promises of their return, and its apparent near approach,
“ In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans ....I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession ... And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved : therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. SEVENTY WEEKs are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Dan. ix. 1, 4, 20-27.