4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set [establish] judgment in the earth [mishpat ba'aretz]: and the isles [iyim] shall wait for His law [torah].
It is now about seventeen hundred and fifty years [in 1847] since he spake by his servant John to the seven congregations in Asia Minor; and so entirely has he refrained himself from further revelation of his will, that men have at length almost generally concluded, that he has ceased to take any interest in human affairs.
They speculate upon passing events, as though they thought that mankind were formed for no nobler destiny, than to fret out a brief and crushing existence in a precarious competition for food and raiment; and to labour with asinine endurance for the behoof of those, who, by violence, avarice, and fraud, have gained the ascendancy over them.
God is not in their thoughts when they treat of the affairs of men. They deal only with secondary causes, while the agency of the great First Cause is supposed to be confined to the saving of "immortal souls" from purgatory, or from burning in liquid brimstone underneath.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
13 Yahweh shall go forth as a Mighty Man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry <shout>, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
God is certainly omnipotent, as his works declare; and therefore "can," if he please, put down everything that rebels against him. But this ability to subdue, is no evidence that he approves of the great transgression. The Israelites rebelled against him ten times, till his patience was almost exhausted. Did he approve of their rebellion because he had the power to crush it in an instant? By no means. He is longsuffering, as in the days of Noah; being willing that all men be saved, and come to exact knowledge of truth.
So say Paul and Peter; and so speaks a greater than they, who was the exact representation of the character of God; "who," says Jesus,
"so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that every one believing into him might not perish, but have Age-Life."
And another reason why he permits what he does not approve, is, that
"He has appointed a day in which he intends to judge the Habitable in righteousness, by a Man whom he hath ordained, offering assurance to all, having raised him from among the dead."
This is the scriptural reason why sin is not punished as soon as committed. Yahweh is silent now as a part of his arrangements. Isaiah predicted that it would be as the history of the past eighteen hundred years has exhibited it; and that Yahweh's silence would continue until the time arrived for him to overthrow the kingdoms of the nations, and to rebuild the tabernacle of David in the restoration of the tribes of Israel.
God wills the unsuppressed triumph of sin, until the arrival of this great and terrible day; in which the vengeance he hath also willed, will convince sinners, that the still voice of the written word, though neglected and despised in this day of his silence, is as dear to him as his life and honour; and that all that do not venerate it, and obey, shall then reap as they have sown.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1857
21 Yahweh is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
In that celebrated discourse, commonly styled "the Sermon on the Mount," Jesus said to His disciples, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy," (either) "but to fulfil," (both) "for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."- (Matt. v. 17-18.)
The justification of Jesus was necessary to convince men that he had fulfilled that which he so often declared the Father had sent Him to do. Now the Father had sent Him to "magnify the law and make it honourable."-Isaiah xlii. 21. To do this, Jesus must fulfil the law. The law demanded the death of the Messiah. This demand must be met by Jesus who claimed the Messiahship for himself.
But we cannot stop here. To have gone no farther than to yield himself a sacrifice, would not have fulfilled the law; it would have availed nothing whatever to the grand purpose thereof. The essential and the crowning act, was the coming back again from the dead, and the justification by the open bestowal of life for ever more. These facts cannot be confuted, and hence the fulfilment of the law cannot be questioned.
The fulfilment was not comprised in one or two acts; it was a long and arduous process, a severe probation. The question arises, at what particular point of time was the justification of the fulfiller accomplished? The answer is, at the moment Jesus received His reward, which was the undeniable assurance to witnesses that he had been justified or accepted. The Father gave unmistakable signs of His approval of Jesus, in his official capacity, but everybody will concur, that without his immortalization, the previous signs would have been unsealed, and therefore invalid.
In harmony with this, Paul at Thessalonica alleges "that Christ must needs have risen again from the dead."-Acts xvii. 3. And in his letter to the ecclesia at Rome, he alludes in most emphatic language to the same event, saying, "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, " &c.-(Romans viii. 34.)
The next question is, did the mere coming out of the sepulchre constitute the justification? From what is written of previous, and also subsequent resurrections, we should be inclined to say "by no means." For others, as Lazarus, and the young man who fell down from the loft where Paul was preaching, were not changed in being resuscitated, when nature was the same after as before the event. It is therefore clear that a change, as well as a resurrection, was essential to the justification of Jesus, and to the fulfilment of the law of Moses.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Oct 1868
24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not Yahweh, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.
Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?
This question supposes it a matter of controversy as to what Israel's calamities were attributable-as to who brought them about. Such a controversy as a matter of fact exists. There are two ways of looking at the matter-the natural-man way and the divine way. The natural man, looking at the misfortunes of Israel, sees only the triumph of human prowess.
The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans had greater military skill than the Jews; therefore the Jews were overthrown. This is the "profane history" point of view-the view of all who look at occurrences as they appear to the eye of the observer who does not know God's relation to them. It was the view entertained by the enemies of Israel themselves. Thus the king of Assyria said,
"By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent."
The other view is presented by God Himself. He says of the Assyrian- He is
"the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge . . . Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few . . . Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks" (Isa. 10:5-12).
God, working behind, so to speak, strengthened, impelled, and guided the enemies of Israel in Israel's spoliation. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Romans were merely instruments in God's hands, without their being aware of it. The work done by them was work done by Him. Hence, the right answer to the question,
"Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?"
is the answer immediately following the question:
"Did not Yahweh, he against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient to his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart."
This is the explanation of the present desolation of all things appertaining to Israel. It is a comfort to know that it is all of God, and that what Jesus said to Pilate concerning himself is true of the whole commonwealth of Israel in relation to the present Gentile ascendancy:
"Thou couldst have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above."
25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
The present state of the Jews
We look on them, and find them not at all what we should desire. They are barren of all intelligent recognition of their present position before God. They are full of a complacent wisdom which is a mixture of human philosophy and Rabbinical superstitions. We do not find the mind of the God of Israel, as exhibited in the prophets, reflected in them. What Paul said still remains true:
"Their minds are blinded unto this day."
The spectacle would be discouraging if we relied on them in the least for our apprehensions of the ways of God in the earth. But we do not rely on them. There is no more consolation to be had from the Jews than from the gentiles, though the Jews are more interesting than the Gentiles, because of their relation to the work of God in the earth.
"Darkness covers the earth (the Gentiles), and gross darkness the people" (the Jews).
It is part of this gross darkness that the Jews rejoice in their racial superiority, and explain their dispersion as God's way of diffusing light among the Gentiles, instead of confessing their scattered state as the punishment of their sins.