THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL IN PROPHECY
THE average individual can tell whether or not a person is acquainted with a given situation by the way he speaks and by the definite manner in which he describes certain things. For instance, when I listen to anyone lecture on Palestine, I can tell positively whether or not he has actually been there. He may have read books on the Holy Land and may have acquired a fairly accurate knowledge of the country; but, if he has never visited the Land, and if he speaks long enough, he will drop certain words or intimations which will reveal the fact that he is not speaking from firsthand knowledge. There is a definiteness and a personal touch which always characterize firsthand information but which is lacking from borrowed material. There is always an earmark of accuracy, or the lack of it, that tells the story.
A prophetic forecastmade centuries before the events and put in a very definite and specific mannerwhen it materializes, is absolute and positive proof that the one making the prediction knew whereof he spoke. There are however two sources of insight or spiritual illuminationGod on the one hand, and Satan on the other. The Almighty permits Satan to duplicate His workup to a certain point. Beyond this, he is never allowed to go. When God raised up true prophets, He permitted Satan to work in and through evil and wicked men. Many false prophets therefore arose in Israel, who counteracted, to the extent of their ability, the messages of the true servants of God.
Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, made two forecasts of the history of his people from his own day until they, scattered and peeled, return to God and are re-established in their own land. These predictions are found in Leviticus 26 and in Deuteronomy 28. The latter passage is a duplication of the former. It is, as anyone can see, an enlargement of the original.
26 Ye shall make you no idols, neither shall ye rear you up a graven image, or a pillar, neither shall ye place any figured stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am Jehovah your God. (2) Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am Jehovah. (3) If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; (4) then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. (5) And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. (6) And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. (7) And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. (8) And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. (9) And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and will establish my covenant with you. (10) And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old because of the new. (11) And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. (12) And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. (13) I am Jehovah your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright. (14) But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; (15) and if ye shall reject my statutes, and if your soul abhor mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant; (16) I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall consume the eyes, and make the soul to pine away; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. (17) And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be smitten before your enemies: they that hate you shall rule over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. (18) And if ye will not yet for these things hearken unto me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins. (19) And I will break the pride of your power: and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass; (20) and your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruit. (21) And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. (22) And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your ways shall become desolate. (23) And if by these things ye will not be reformed unto me, but will walk contrary unto me; (24) then will I also walk contrary unto you; and I will smite you, even I, seven times for your sins. (25) And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant; and ye shall be gathered together within your cities: and I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. (26) When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. (27) And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; (28) then I will walk contrary unto you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. (29) And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. (30) And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your sun-images, and cast your dead bodies upon the bodies of your idols; and my soul shall abhor you. (31) And I will make your cities a waste, and will bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. (32) And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it. (33) And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you: and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. (34) Then shall the land enjoy its sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye are in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy its sabbaths. (35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall have rest, even the rest which it had not in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. (36) And as for them that are left of you, I will send a faintness into their heart in the lands of their enemies: and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as one fleeth from the sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. (37) And they shall stumble one upon another, as it were before the sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. (38) And ye shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. (39) And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. (40) And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me, and also that, because they walked contrary unto me, (41) I also walked contrary unto them, and brought them into the land of their enemies: if then their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity; (42) then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. (43) The land also shall be left by them, and shall enjoy its sabbaths, while it lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred my statutes. (44) And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God; (45) but I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am Jehovah. (46) These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which Jehovah made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by Moses.DEUTERONOMY 28
When Israel was at Sinai, the Tabernacle was constructed. From the door of this sacred enclosure God spoke the contents of the Book of Leviticus. Chapter 26 is an outline of Israel's entire history pre-written. Let us remember that it was given in 2514 A.H.
In verses 1 and 2 God speaks of Himself in relation to the nation. Being their God, He assumes the responsibility for their care and keeping. This special providence demanded, upon the part of Israel, loyal obedience. These things are implied in the introductory verses.
In verses 3-13 the Lord made a wonderful promise that He would bless Israel abundantly if she would only be faithful to her covenant obligations. A careful study of these records shows that, if she had been true to God, she, in her own land, would have enjoyed a Utopia; for there would have been no droughts, no pestilences, no invasions of the country by an aggressor, and never a shortage of food. In other words, Palestine, to an obedient Israel, would have been "Paradise Regained"to a certain extent at least.
On the other hand, the Lord solemnly warned the nation that, if she should not be obedient to Him, He would punish her severely. Moses warned them of four strokes of judgment in the event they should be disobedient to Him. The first is mentioned in verses 14-17; the second is given in verses 18-20; the third is found in verses 21-22; and the fourth one appears in verses 23-26. A careful study of these warnings shows that each stroke was to be more severe than the one preceding.
If Israel, after having been punished as described in these verses, still persisted in disobedience, the Lord threatened to remove her out of her land and to deport her to a foreign country. This prediction is found in verses 27-33. Above the central line on the chart, one sees an arrowdouble-headedon which the notation, "vss. 27-33," is written. One portion points downward to the Babylonian captivity while the other one points forward to the calamity of 70 A.D., when Jerusalem fell and Israel was scattered among the nations. These verses speak of the chastisement which came at the time when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Palestine and also when the Romans under Titus likewise overran the country. The description of these two events blends into a single picture of indescribable horrors.
On the second arrow is written "vss. 34-39," which passage undoubtedly speaks of the condition of the Land while Israel is scattered among the Gentiles during the Christian Dispensation.
The third arrow points to the end of the Tribulation. Upon it is written "vss. 40-45," which appear at the right side of the chart above. These verses foretell that Israel in her scattered condition will be brought to the point where she will confess her own "iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers in their trespass which they trespassed against me," etc. Thus in the year 1942-plus, the remnant of the people, scattered now among the nations, will make the confession of their national sin, which was committed by the fathers when they were still in the Land, and on account of which crime they were thrown out and scattered among the nations. They will also confess their own share in this same national transgression, in that they have assumed the same attitude as that taken by those who committed the wrong. Moses did not tell us what this national sin was. Isaiah in his famous servant passage has given a full statement of it.
Just before the death of Moses, when Israel was encamped in the Plains of Moab, this great servant of God delivered his farewell messages to his beloved people. In Deuteronomy 28 he covered the same ground which was traversed in Leviticus 26, but here he enlarged greatly upon it. I invite the reader to notice the analysis of this chapter beginning with verse 36 to the close.
(36) Jehovah will bring thee, and thy king whom thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation that thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. (37) And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples whither Jehovah shall lead thee away. (38) Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. (39) Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worm shall eat them. (40) Thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast its fruit. (41) Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be thine; for they shall go into captivity. (42) All thy trees and the fruit of thy ground shall the locust possess. (43) The sojourner that is in the midst of thee shall mount up above thee higher and higher; and thou shalt come down lower and lower. (44) He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. (45) And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: (46) and they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. (47) Because thou servedst not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; (48) therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies that Jehovah shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. (49) Jehovah will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; (50) a nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young, (51) and shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, until thou be destroyed; that also shall not leave thee grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of thy cattle, or the young of thy flock, until they have caused thee to perish. (52) And they shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fortified walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land; and they shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which Jehovah thy God hath given thee. (53) And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, whom Jehovah thy God hath given thee, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee. (54) The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children whom he hath remaining; (55) so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in all thy gates. (56) The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, (57) and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. (58) If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, JEHOVAH THY GOD; (59) then Jehovah will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. (60) And he will bring upon thee again all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. (61) Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will Jehovah bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. (62) And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God. (63) And it shall come to pass, that, as Jehovah rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so Jehovah will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest in to possess it. (64) And Jehovah will scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone. (65) And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot: but Jehovah will give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul; (66) and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. (67) In the morning thou shalt say, Would it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would it were morning! for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (68) And Jehovah will bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
He will see that verses 36-46 point to the Babylonian siege and subsequent captivity; that verses 47-63 tell specifically of the fall of Jerusalem, which we know occurred in 70 A.D.; and finally that verses 64-68 speak of Israel's scattered condition among the nations during the present age. If anyone reads this chapter after he has studied carefully Leviticus 26, he will see that this passage is supplemental and an enlarged version of the former chapter.
By means of the prophetic vision Moses looked forward a thousand years and saw the siege of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. He likewise lifted his eyes, looked six hundred years farther into the future, and saw the Roman overthrow of the Jewish nation, which, as we know, occurred in 70 A.D. Then with a saddened heart his eye ran through the centuries of the Christian Dispensation, and he saw tempest-tossed Israel as a hiss, a curse, and a by-word among the nations.
It was only by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Moses could utter this prediction. He gave us a definite and specific idea concerning the general course that events would take as Israel passes through the centuries until she enjoys full possession of the Land under her great King Messiahyet in the future.
As stated above, there are two sources of information regarding the future: God and the Devil. From whom did Moses get his information? Unquestionably God is the one who inspired him. This becomes immediately apparent to the one who recognizes that Moses was a true servant of God and that he gave all glory and praise to the Almighty. Satan would not have worked through such a man as he was and have given these prophecies.
Since the career of Israel has turned out exactly as outlined in these two marvelous passages, we may be certain that the future will run true to form and that Israel will eventually, in her calamity, be brought to the point where she will call upon God for deliverance, and, in answer to her penitential cry, the Messiah will come and restore her to her rightful position as head of the nations.