1 Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of Yahweh:
Chapter 36 is a comforting message of rebirth and rebuilding of the land in peopled fruitfulness and prosperity. Several times we are told that this time it is for ever - no more to suffer any sorrow or oppression.
Bro Growcott - Prophecies in the captivity
7 Therefore thus saith Adonai Yahweh; I have lifted up Mine hand [ yad [in oath-taking]], Surely the heathen [Goyim] that are about you, they shall bear their [own scorn] shame.
This was the gesture made when swearing an oath. Yahweh has sworn two such oaths in relation to promises He has made, and these guarantee the future prosperity of both the land and people of Israel. The first was the oath confirming the promise made to Abraham (Gen. 22:16); the second was the oath made to David (Ps. 132:11). Both the Abrahamic and
Davidic promises include the future of Israel. Abraham was told:
"I will make of thee a great nation" (Gen. 12:2);
David was told that the nation would be established in "a place of its own" and
"move no more" (2 Sam. 7:10).
Both covenants were confirmed by oaths, so that Paul adds:
"By two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us" (Heb. 6:18).
Salvation itself is bound up with the redemption of Israel (John 4:22), and those brought within the bonds of the covenant are constituted the true "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16). As
such, their patriotism is for Israel, and they rejoice in its hope (Acts 28:20).
The Christadelphian Expositor
8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.
9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:
The nations and peoples cannot spurn Israel with impunity; they are responsible for their actions, even though in doing so they effect Yahweh's discipline against His people (Zech. 1:15). The glorious vision, having disposed of the enemies of Yahweh (ch. 35), now sees the land of Abraham transformed, the people redeemed, and prepared for the glory to come. GEM
11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am Yahweh.
The mountains of Israel have a living interest in connection with futurity. They are interesting on account of what has already taken place there, but much more interesting on account of the purpose God has conceived
"according to the good pleasure of his will,"
in relation to the beautiful earth we inhabit; beautiful, yet gloomy and afflicted in many ways; of which purpose the land of the mountains of Israel in the geographical sense is the basis.
The mountains of Israel have been greatly honoured in the past as the scene of Yahweh's communications with the earth: they are to be much more honoured in the future in the display of His visible might thereon in the overthrow of the assembled hosts of the nations, and the establishment of an actual visible government that shall bless all the world with the arrangements necessary to secure glory to God and on earth peace.
The mountains of Israel have seen Christ in their midst: they will look upon him again. He ascended from the Mount of Olives: and at his return
"his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives" (Zech. 14:4).
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
This is clearly the same people who were scattered: national Israel. Spiritual Israel cannot be so addressed. Then note the order of events-Bro Growcott - Prophecies in the captivity
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
This does not contradict the purging out of the rebels before Israel is taken into the land (ch. 20). Many will be regathered, as today, in blindness and by apparent natural means. And purging out the rebels will still leave Israel as a nation with much cleansing to do, in national mourning, and submission to their rejected Messiah (Zech. 12:10-14; 13:6-9).
Bro Growcott - Prophecies in the captivity
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
No better social arrangement could have been contrived than an agricultural community territorially impregnated with the elements of a divine civilization. That it was a failure we know: but this was not the fault of the law, but of the people, and principally of the teachers:
"Ye (priests) are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of Hosts."
It was against them that the denunciations of Jesus were principally directed under the name current for them in his day, Scribes and Pharisees. The reproduction of the system under Christ will be attended with very different results:
"I will settle you after your old estates, and do better unto you than at your beginnings." "I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever."
When we extend our view beyond the settlement of the people in families on the land, on the basis of inalienable inheritance (subject to unconditional and compulsory release every fifty years), to the further laws given to bring individual life under reverence, and purity and gratitude, and to rouse up public life into recurring seasons of joyous social activity, appreciation of the law of Moses swells and bursts into enthusiastic admiration.
Law of Moses Ch 8.
A Heart of Flesh
It is circumcision of the heart, of which circumcision of the flesh is but the sign of the circumcised heart of Abraham, that confers a title to the land and all its attributes. Before Israel can inherit the land for ever, and so be no more expelled by "the horns of the Gentiles," they must "circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, and be no more stiff-necked;" and "love the Lord (Jesus) their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, that they may live " (Deut. 10:16; 30:6).
This may seem to some to put their restoration a long way off. And so it does, if the circumcision of their hearts is to be effected by the instrumentality by the Society for the Conversion of the Jews. By the well-meant endeavors of this body it can never be accomplished; for the Society and its agents are themselves deficient in this particular. But "God is able to graft them in again" (Rom. 11:23)...
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
In this testimony, while Moses exhorted them to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, the Lord says that He will change their hearts Himself; not, however, by "the foolishness of preaching," for that has failed even by the mouth of apostles energized by the spirit: but by means in reserve which will astonish Israel and the world, and of which He has spoken at large in the holy Scriptures.
I will anticipate this part of the subject so far as to say that the Lord has left on record an illustration of the manner in which He changes the heart of a nation, and plants them in a land flowing with milk and honey, in the history of Israel's exode from Egypt, and their settlement in the land of Canaan. This is a representation on a small scale of how He intends to graft them in again, as He has declared by the prophets.
Elpis Israel 2.2.
33 Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I Yahweh build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I Yahweh have spoken it, and I will do it.
When thus converted into Paradise, the same prophet tells us that there will be "a river that can not be passed over" by wading; and that it will be formed by a confluence of "waters springing out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, from its right side, at the south of the altar" (47:1-5). He then informs us that "on the bank of the river was a great wood aitz rav, (both words in the singular number) on the one side and on the other. "The waters issue from Mount Moriah down its south side, and flow on toward the east through a vast cleft in the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4,8). When they have passed this valley they divide into two rivers, the one flowing through the desert and emptying into the Dead Sea; and the other into the Mediterranean: both of them abundant and never failing streams.
The effect of the eastern river upon the Dead Sea will be to heal its waters. Both streams are healing waters; for the prophet says, that "It shall be, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the two rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither; for they (of the Dead Sea) shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall be, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engeddi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the Great Sea (or Mediterranean) exceeding many.
"And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall come up every tree for food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be exhausted; for its months it shall yield, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for healing."
After these statements, the Spirit then proceeds to point out the boundaries of Paradise. He commences the line from the Mediterranean at the outlet of the Orontes, called "the entering in to Hamath," and passes on in a direct course of one hundred and thirty three miles to Berothah upon the Euphrates. This is marked out as the natural boundary on the north by the range of mountains, called Amanus, which, as a natural barrier, extends across the country from the Great Mediterranean sea to Berothah; to which the Euphrates is navigable from the Persian Gulf.
When Messiah is enthroned king of the land, and proceeds to take possession of it to its utmost limits, he will then say to his companions,
"Come with me from Lebanon, my Spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards" (Song 4:8).
Taking up their position upon that commanding border, the Sons of Zion may view the landscape of a goodly and glorious land, fragrant of rich odours, and flowing with milk and honey, outstretching eastward in all the length of Euphrates to the East Sea. This is its border on the east. From the junction of the Euphrates with the Persian Gulf in lat. 30 deg., the frontier is drawn "from Tamar to Meribah of Kadesh, to the river towards the Great (or Mediterranean) Sea." This is the south border of Paradise; a line of over a thousand miles abutting upon the Nile, and thence to the sea; and affording free access to the Red Sea by the Elanitic Gulf. The boundary on the west "shall be the Great Sea from the border (south) till a man come over against (the entering in to) Hamath."
Thus we have an ample area; containing by estimation three hundred thousand square miles, for the length and "breadth of Immanuel's land," extending, as covenanted to Abraham and his Seed, "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates, for a possession in the Olahm" (Gen. 15:18).
Such is the territorial paradise or kingdom of the Deity; which all the prophets testify shall be inhabited by the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and their nobles, all of them Priests and Kings with Messiah pre-eminent in all things over all. The twelve tribes will have had a new heart given them, and a new spirit put within them, by the refining process they will have been previously subjected to. Their present stony heart will have been abolished, and a heart of flesh substituted in its stead, as it is testified in Ezek. 26:25-32.
Then, for the first time since their revolt from the house of David in the days of his grandson Rehoboam, they will again become "one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all". They will then rejoice in Jesus of Nazareth, as High Priest upon the throne of his father David after the order of Melchizedec for the "season and a time," or Olahm of a thousand years. The former troubles will all be forgotten; and they will "no more be made a reproach among the nations" (Joel 2:19).
Under this new and glorious constitution of the Hebrew Kingdom, the tribes will be settled in Paradise in parallel cantonments, extending across the country from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. Dan's canton is the first reckoning from the north border. Then Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah.
This brings us down to "the midst of the Paradise of the Deity."
South of Judah is the Foursquare Oblation, "a holy portion of the land," containing "the sanctuary, the Most Holy;" the holy portion for the Levites; and the "Profane Place for the City," for dwelling, and for suburbs. On the east and west is the Prince's portion, the foursquare oblation being in his portion, and bounded north by the canton of Judah and south by that of Benjamin. Thus,
"Yahweh shall inherit in the (canton) of Judah his portion upon the land of holiness, and shall delight in Jerusalem again" (Zech. 2:12) -- the Holy Oblation and Prince's portion being thus reckoned of the canton of Judah.
37 Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.
38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am Yahweh.
This preservation of Israel for the elect's sake, is beautifully expressed by the prophet, saying, "Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not: for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sake that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a Seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall inherit it, (the land of Canaan) and my servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall .be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me" (Isaiah 65:8, 9).
"God," then "has not cast away his people Israel, whom he foreknew," and spoke of to Abraham and Isaac, before they had any sons. He has chastised them for their sins; but "there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
The election hath obtained the grace, by accepting Jesus as the Seed, and inheritor of the land; and the rest are blinded until this day." But this blindness is not permanent. They will yet become a great and mighty nation, rejoicing in the service of the Lord Jesus and the elect; for "blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:2,5,7,8,25,26) -- that is, all the twelve tribes shall be reunited into one nation and kingdom upon their own land, and be received into the favour of God (Ezek. 37:25-28; 36:33-38; 39:25-29); they will then have been grafted in again, according to the word of the Lord.
Elpis Israel 2.3.