8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
...the powers contemporary with Judah did not fulfil completely the burdens concerning them. Take the "Burden of Moab" for instance. In the days of the prophets, Moab, or the power existing on the territory called Moab, was hostile to Israel; and when disaster overtook the tribes of Israel, Moab rejoiced at it,
"skipping (like a three year old heifer) for joy"-Jer. 48:27, 34.
...Moab, whose "branches are extended, and gone over the sea" (Isai. 16:8), was a proud monarchy (verse 6; and Jer. 48:29), hostile and arrogant towards Israel, and a worshipper of Chemosh.
Their elohim, or king, nobles, magistrates, and priests, were denounced, and sentenced to become famished gods. The judgments predicted have been accomplished in part. The effect of them has continued to the present time; and, according to the prophecy, will continue "to the age." The power no longer exists there, and its country is a place of nettles, salt-pits, and a desolation.
But the burden testifies that
"the residue of Yahweh's people shall spoil them, and the remnant of his nation shall possess them"-"They shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them"-Isai. 11:14.
It is evident, however, from the history of Israel since these words were spoken, that this part of the burden has not been accomplished. The Jews have never since spoiled and possessed the Moabites; but have been themselves the spoiled of other powers...Moab's history, past and present, fulfils not the burden: its full accomplishment is deficient.
We may, therefore, conclude ...that it became an occasion for a prophecy concerning a power that shall exist on the same territory, and through which the burden shall be completely filled up.
"The people of Chemosh are perished;"
therefore, as a race and a power, Moab doth not exist...What preliminary is therefore necessary to the fulfilment of this part of the prophecy? Obviously, the only answer is that given in Jer. 48:47:
"I will bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith Yahweh."
As the people of Chemosh, or the racial descendants of Moab, son of Lot, son of Haran, son of Terah, the father of Abraham, are perished by sword and captivity so as to be no more distinguishable in the earth; the bringing again of Moab's captivity must have reference to the resuscitation of a power where they formerly dwelt.
This, then, is a phenomenon in the political world to be expected in the latter day, or pre-adventual "time of the end." The sentence of banishment is to be removed, and the country east of the Dead Sea, even Moab and Ammon, are to become the seat of a power destined to play an important part in the local arrangements of God respecting Palestine.
It may be well here to remind the reader that, before the Assyrian Image is broken by the Stone which the builders of Judah refused, the land lying between the Euphrates, the Persian Gulph, the Red Sea, the Nile, and the Mediterranean, will be oppressed by two powers in the latter days-the one, that of Edom, Moab, and Ammon; the other, the Assyrian, with whom are the sons of Esau.
The latter is a confederacy, which hates the Jews; the former a power occupying those districts, friendly to them, and affording them protection. These two powers in the latter days stand face to face in the Holy Land, contending for supremacy over it. If left to themselves to fight it out, the probability is that the Moabitish power would be again expelled from the country.
But we know from the Bible that affairs will take a different turn. The latter days are pregnant with wonderful and unexpected results. Gog is brought against the land of Israel in the latter days-Ezek. 38:8, 16; which implies, especially as the army which he brings against it is mighty, that he has there a powerful enemy to encounter. In the time of the end, the king of the north shall enter into the glorious land-Dan. 11:41.
The "time of the end" and the "latter days" are the same period: and Gog and the king of the north are the one power, which is symbolized by Nebuchadnezzar's Image-the Assyrian: for in his dream he saw it broken "in the latter days;" an event which, Isaiah informs us, is to take place on the mountains of Israel-
"I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off Israel, and his burden depart from off their shoulders, saith Yahweh of armies"-14:25.
Now, as it is testified by Daniel, that
"Edom and Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon, shall escape out of his hand,"
it is evident that a power at that time is entrenched in these countries that it fails to expel; so that the Assyrian can no more lead Moab into captivity.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1856
11 Yahweh will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods [Elohim - Mighty Ones] of the earth; and men shall worship Him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
It is interesting to recollect that in these oracles of truth we have a divine view of human ways: a picture of the situation of things among men as they appear to God's eyes. It is here where their value lies. As the children of God-constituted such by the obedience of the gospel-it is of the first importance that we should use all diligence to obtain and cherish such an insight.
In fact the possession of it is the one thing that distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil. Human literature reflects human views of the situation, and the student of this literature gets only the human view. We have to go to the Scriptures to get the divine view, and this view is in complete contrast to that which is popular with society in general. As Jesus says,
"That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."
The point is illustrated in the statement before us. Who among men in general would make it a crime that a man or a nation should be proud? And that they should reproach the people of the Lord of Hosts? Why, this is the characteristic of all polite society in our day. They are proud-oh, so proud! -and it is considered one of the cardinal points of a true civilisation to have and to cultivate pride.
As for divine things and divine people, whether you understand the Jews nationally, or the poor who are rich in faith, there is no richer theme of jest among them. The characters of Scripture and their imitators among the living alike come in for their mirth, and they are not considered to sin very grievously in having their joke on such topics. Yet scripturally viewed, they are "sinners before the Lord exceedingly," and have no need to tremble in the presence of the patient Creator of Heaven and Earth. Their pride and their scorning will evoke the appointed visitation in due time. It is written,
"The Lord of Hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth":
And though His anger is held back against the appointed time, and men in their temerity make defiant use of the liberty God allows them meanwhile, the hour will arrive when the truth of His word will become manifest in the tempest that will strike confusion and terror into the hearts of His enemies, and bring their power in ruins to the earth.
"The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa. 2:11).
The perfect reasonableness of all this will be manifest to those who realise that man is a creature only permitted to live by the power of the Creator, and that no ground of pride or glory exists in the possession of privileges. Even the angels, "greater in power and might," vaunt not themselves, but veil themselves in the presence of the terrible Majesty and power of the Eternal Self-existence filling heaven and earth, from whom they have derived their glorious attributes.
How odious and unreasonable then, are the pomposities and insubordinations of "dust and ashes." Even human reason rightly applied can see this: how much more hateful must it be in the eyes of the Eternal, from whom nothing in heaven and earth is hid? How hateful it is we may learn from the silent and dreary desolation that prevails where once flourished the busy, prosperous, and boastful communities of Phenicia, Moab, Ammon, Idumea, etc., against whom Yahweh's anger was declared.
Sunday Morning 59