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« say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the “ Lord *, seems to imply some such matter. They " will never believe that Christ reigns at the right “ hand of God, until they see him. It must be 4 an invincible evidence which must convert them, " after so many hundred years settled obstinacy: " But this I speak of the body of the nation; " there may be some Præludią of some particu
lars converted upon other motives, as a forea runner of the great and main conversion t." To this opinion of Mr. Mede it was objected by Dr. Twisse, how such a vision could be manifested to the Jews dispersed in several parts of the world. The answer was, that a vision or apparition ire heaven may be seen by the greatest part of the world at the same time, as stars and comets are : how else shall the appearing of our Saviour in the clouds of heaven, at his coming to judgment, be scen at once by so many nations of the world ? Mr. Mede adds, “Howsoever it be, I suppose it is no “ sin to conceive magnificè and a pet ovlws of so great “ a work of God towards a people for whom he
hath formerly shewn so many wonders; especially " this being to be the greatest work of mercy and “ wonder that ever he did for them, far beyond " the bringing them forth of Egypt, and leading " them in the wilderness I.” And, in another part
* Zechar. xii. 10. Matt. xxiii. 39.
1 Ibid. Epist. xvii. P. 767.
of his works, he draws, a comparison between St. Paul's conversion and the calling of the J ws, supposing the one to be a kind of type of the other *.
My objection to Mr. Mede's opinion, in the inanner in which he has stated it, is neither its improbability nor its impossibility abstractedly considered; but simply that it cannot be made to harmonize with the general tenor of the prophecies which treat of the restoration and conversion of the Jews. It is expressly declared by Zechariah, that the glory of the Lord shall be manifested in the midst of Jerusalem; and that, after such manifestation, Jehovah sent by Jehovah shall go forth and execute judgment upon his enemies. All the other prophets agree in attesting the same; that, whenever the Word of God is revealed, it shall be to pour destruction upon the rebel army of Antichrist. This glory will most probably be the same as the Shechinah that attended the children of Israel out of Egypt: a vast pillar of light, shooting up to an immense height in the air so as to be visible at a very great distance, and surmounted by a cloud; thus causing Jerusalem to appear, as if encompassed and covered with fire. Now, if such a tremendous vision as this continued to hover over Jerusalem (for that is the place assigned by the prophet for its appearance); and if the end of its
* Mede’s Works, B. v. C. 2. P. 891.
mani. manifestation were to attract the attention of the scattered Jews, and to effect their conversion, as Mr. Mede supposes: it is incredible, that Antichrist would ever dare to undertake such an expedition, as it is foretold that be shall undertake. Or, granting the utmost that can be granted to daring impiety; granting that Antichrist might harden his heart to attempt the conquest of Palestine, as Pharaoh did to seek the destruction of Israel at the Red sea, notwithstanding the fiery portent, increasing in apparent magnitude as he approached towards it, glared full before his eyes : yet we can scarcely believe, that he would be able to effect the conquest of all Palestine, to bestow Jerusalem apon a band of unconverted Jews, to subdue Egypt, to return from thence in his fury, and to sack Jerusalem; if the glory of the Lord were all this time in the midst of the city. Yet such must necessarily be our conclusion, if we adopt unreservedly Mr. Mede's opinion: for we are expressly told, that a part of the Jews shall be converted in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem shall be sacked while in their possession. Of the two texts, which he cites from Zechariah and St. Matthew, the one seems to me by no means to prove his point, and the other to prove the direct contrary. I cannot think, that we have any warrant to suppose that the Jews, restored by Antichrist, will at the time of their conversion look upon him whom they have pierced any otherwise than spiritually, because their
converconversion precedes the sacking of Jerusalein; whereas the manifestation of the Lord succeeds it and immediately precedes the destruction of Antichrist. Then indeed they will literally look upon him whom they have pierced, but not till then. And this opinion is decidedly confirmed by the other text, which proves the very reverse of what Mr. Mede intended that it should prove. Our Lord assures the Jews, that they shall not see him, until they say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Whence it is manifest, that they must first say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; and afterwards behold him, whom they have so long rejected. This is precisely what I have supposed that they will do: whereas Mr. Mede exactly inverts the particulars of the text; and argues, that the Jews will first see the Messiah, and afterwards acknowledge him *.
On the whole I think it clear, that the revelation of God's glory over Jerusalem, will at once succeed the conversion and restoration of Judah, the whole expedition of Antichrist, and the sacking of the city; that it will suddenly take place, when the confederacy has reached the valley of Megiddo, and is on the point of overwhelming the troops of the maritime nation and the converted Jews under its protection, and that, immediately after it has taken place, the Word of God, issuing from the brightness of the Shechinah with all the armies of heaven, will descend with irresistible violence on his irreclaimable enemies, and thus stupendously conclude the great apostatical drama of 1260 years.
* Mr. Lowth supposes, like Mr. Mede, that the Jews willbe converted in consequence of a supernatural manifestation of Christ. See his Comment, on Zech. xii. 10.
Since the Jews are to be restored in the midst of war and bloodshed, or, as Daniel expresses it, during a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, we may reasonably suppose that great numbers of them will perish. Accordingly we find, that their return from the countries of their dispersion is expressly compared by Ezekiel to their ancient exodus from Egypt. As God pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt; so will he likewise plead with them, causing them to pass under the rod, and purging out from among them the rebels. It is probable indeed, that only a small part of the first generation of those that are restored will quietly sit down under their own vines and under their own fig-trees. One whole generation of the Israelites, that were brought out of Egypt, perished in the course of forty years in the wilderness : and there is reason to think, as we shall presently see, that the conversion and restoration of Judah, and the expedition and destruction of Antichrist, will occupy a period of not less than 30 years. The swift messengers of the great maritime power will begin the work of converting the Jews, that is to say such