The Prophets, some even before the Captivity, foreseeing the overthrow of the Kingdom, both foretell its downfall and its final restoration.
PROPOSITION 33. The Prophets, some even before the Captivity, foreseeing the overthrow of the Kingdom, both foretell its downfall and its final restoration.
Thus, e.g., Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Micah deliberately predict the withdrawal of God’s protection as Ruler on account of the rebellious spirit of the nation, the abolishment of the Kingdom, and the destruction of the very place of the Ruler’s special manifestation. But they also announce, just as distinctly, that at some period in the future there shall be a complete restoration of the same Kingdom under David’s son, and a restoration, too, pre-eminently glorious.
Obs. 1. This, from what preceded and will follow, needs no special proof. Such passages as Amos 9:11; Luke 1:32, 33; Ezek. 37:21, 22; Jer. 33:14, etc., it is admitted by all men, do in their plain grammatical sense distinctively teach such downfall and restoration. This is denied by no one; but we are informed by eminent and pious men, that this is not the sense (excepting only as it pertains to downfall) intended by God. Aside from the inconsistency of charging God with employing a sense—the one, too, in common usage between men—that fairly expresses this idea and fosters corresponding hopes, we hold with the Primitive Church, and shall prove as we proceed, that it is the only sense which consistently maintains God’s covenant, oath, promises, and election of the nation.
Obs. 2. Let the reader but pause and consider: God has had a veritable Kingdom here on earth; He was the earthly Ruler of the nation exhibited in and through this Kingdom; now is it conceivable that He, owing to unbelief and sin of the nation, will give up this Kingdom forever—that He will permit Himself to be defeated in the establishment of such an open, outward, manifested Theocracy? Men, the multitude, say such is the fact, but we do not read the Bible as asserting the same, for this would be dishonoring to God, making Him to undertake a work that He is unable to accomplish, and this would make the Prophets predict falsely, making them plainly to prophecy what shall never come to pass. (Comp. Prop. 201.)
Obs. 3. It has been generally acknowledged (no matter how afterward explained or spiritualized) that the basis of prophetical teaching is this Kingdom constantly and uniformly connected with the National and Religio-Political constitution of the people of Israel. Why, then, dare to reverse this, without the most explicit and direct command from God? The change that is made by the many in these prophetical utterances, as will be shown, is based purely on inference. Solemnly, sadly is the protest given: Should we not, in so weighty a matter, have far more than merely inferential proof? If the grammatical meaning of the Word is to be changed, should not God Himself plainly tell us of the change, and not leave it to uninspired men, centuries after the canon is completed, to inform us of it?
Obs. 4. When the elements of disunion, disruption, etc., appeared in the Davidic Kingdom, then also a change took place in the Prophetic voice. This has been noticed by Kurtz (Sac. His., p. 228, etc.) and others; it is only necessary to add, that in view of the now foreseen and determined withdrawal of the Kingdom, much more is said, by way of encouragement under coming trial, respecting the period, when, under the promised Messiah, the Kingdom should be restored never more to end. This was a token of mercy to stimulate the faith and hope of the repentant, pious portion of the nation; for while God withdrew the Kingdom and attendant blessings, He did not, as He promised even by Moses, utterly forsake the nation.