LECTURE 3

 

The History of Israel

Two Houses.  Many Days Without a King

Destruction of Jerusalem

 

 

THE history of Israel involves not only the development of the people but also that of the Land, which was theirs.

Milman, in his History of the Jews, says, “The Jews, without reference to their religious belief, are among the most remarkable people in the annals of mankind.  Sprung from one stock, they pass the infancy of their nation in a state of servitude in a foreign country, where, nevertheless, they increase so rapidly, as to appear on a sudden the fierce and irresistible conquerors of their native valleys in Palestine.  At length, united under one monarchy, they gradually rise to the rank of a powerful, opulent, and commercial people.  Subsequently, they are weakened, overwhelmed, and are transplanted into a foreign region.  They are partially restored- are engaged in wars of the most romantic gallantry in assertion of their independence.  Finally, they make the last desperate resistance to the universal dominion of the Caesars.  Scattered from that period over the face of the earth, hated, scorned, and oppressed, they subsist, a numerous and often a thriving people; and in all the changes of manners and opinions retain their ancient institutions, their national character, and their indelible hope of restoration to grandeur and happiness in their native land.”

“The most remarkable race that lives or ever lived on earth, is the Jewish race; and the most wonderful national phenomenon of this or any other age is the per­petual existence and past and present condition of the Jewish people.  With a history that antedates the authentic records of all other nations, and a literature more widely diffused than the literature of any other people; with an experience more wonderful than that of any other race; they stand as they have stood for thousands of years, a mystery which confounds the wisest, a problem which baffles the skill of the most astute.”

“The first republic known to history, consisting of the Twelve United States of Israel, established and organized in the desert, on the basis of universal suffrage, the election of officers by the people, representation by elders, or aldermen, selected from the people, with inferior judges, and courts of last appeal, was finally planted in Canaan, the land being divided in fee- simple among all the people, one-twelfth of whom were selected and appointed to care for the education and enlightenment of the nation; one-tenth of their increase and of the produce of the land being set apart for their support in their educational and religious work.  This federated nation, thus established, with an organic law, a written constitution, and a form of government wiser and more humane than any which the world had known; which guarded the rights of rich and poor, small and great, servants and masters, rulers and people, wives and husbands, captives and conquerors, protecting even the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, and providing for the proper tillage of the soil, and the preservation of trees, seeds, and fruits- was the pattern upon which all stable popular governments have been based.”-H. L. Hastings.

The foregoing quotations take us backward in the History of Israel.  Now a recent comment (1941) by Maurice Pearlman:  “The Jewish people, driven by an inspiration fashioned by 20 centuries of tradition, history, hopes and longings, have wrought this modern miracle of settle­ment and development.  Half a million Jews, manning Jewry’s outpost, building Jewry’s future, are the backbone of their nation.  Their achievements provide the main glimmer of light in the darkness spread by the persecuting tyrants on the Continent. 

“In the years of twilight between the two great wars, there has been a steady upbuilding of Jewish life in Eretz Israel, and a grim decline in Jewish life in Europe.  The last few years have seen the complete destruction of distinguished and old-established Jewish communities on the Continent.  Millions of Jews have experienced at first hand persecution and discrimination, all the horrors of Nazi brutality and torture .  .  . In the free countries of the world, the lands in which Jews still enjoy the full rights of citizenship, the Jewish communities are becoming increasingly aware of the indivisibility of the Jewish problem and of the indivisible unity of the Jewish people.”

“THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE”

 

“THE Land” and “The People” are so closely associated as to become one theme.  The reason is obvious.  God made choice of the people for Himself also appointed the Land for their habitation.  The Holy One of Israel who made promises concerning the Seed of Abraham also made a covenant concerning the Land of promise.  And later, God made a covenant with David concerning his throne established in the Land, that “it should endure.” We are told, “In Judah is God known; His name is great in Israel.  In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion” (Psa. 76: 1, 2). “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children” (Psa. 78: 5, 8).

For our present purpose The History of Israel must be confined to a brief outline of the development of this people, given in the Scriptures, in their relation to the 7,000 years Plan, in which they play a very important part.  It commences with Abraham “the Hebrew,” whose descendants are spoken of as Hebrews; they are also designated “the children of Israel” and “the Jews.”  It is necessary to recognize that all these terms apply to one and the same people, especially so, since in our time some professing interpreters of Bible teaching and prophecy have sought to establish a theory based upon a distinction between “Israel” and “Jew.”

We have already seen that “All the souls . . . were three score and ten.” (Gen. 46: 26, 27).  A small beginning, but “the children of Israel were fruitful, and in­creased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.” (Ex. 1: 7).  Fearing the consequences that might be felt from this growth of the people in their land, “the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage.” In this sore affliction they were not forgotten.  “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. (Ex. 2: 24, 25).

If you ask: Just what was the covenant that God “remembered”? Here is an answer.  “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” (Gen. 15: 13, 14). The people truly were in a land “not theirs”; they had been afflicted, and the period of their sojourn in the house of bondage was drawing to a close.  And this is what God “remembered”- not that He had at any time forgotten His promise; rather, that at the appointed time God called to mind what had been promised, and proceeded to find the means of bringing it to pass.

In the meantime Moses was born, and providentially preserved from the fate of the “sons” which, by the decree of Pharaoh, was that they should be “cast into the river.” We pass over the life of Moses in Egypt, from whence he fled before the face of Pharaoh, and read of him as a shepherd; “Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, and led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb, where from the midst of the burning bush, which was not consumed, the angel of the Lord, speaking for God, said,  “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  I have surely seen the affliction of my people, which are in Egypt.  And I am come down to deliver them. . .and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.  Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (Ex. 3: 1-10).  As we have seen, they were to “come out with great substance;” and so it came to pass. For the sons of Israel did according to the word of Moses; “they ask from the Egyptians vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and garments; and Jehovah hath given the grace of the people in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they cause them to ask, and they spoil the Egyptians.” (Ex. 12:  35,36).  - Dr. Young's translation.

Of necessity we pass over much detail, and now take a look at the people after they were out of Egypt.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male of their polls; From 20 years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.”  “These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being 12 men; each one was for the house of his fathers.  So were all those that were num­bered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from 20 years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel: Even all they that were numbered were 600,000 and 3,550.  But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them” (consequently, are additional to the number given in the preceding verse) (Num. 1: 1-3: 44-47).  Such was the national growth at that time; it has been computed that the people, men, women and children, must have numbered “at least 2,500,000.”  They had flocks and herds almost in­numerable.  A mighty host, indeed, brought out of Egypt from a life of slavery.

But that was “a land of civilization, thickly peopled, highly cultivated, well watered and fruitful.”  And no small task awaited Moses and Aaron, to guide and direct this people in a new land, and under such changed conditions.  This was quite the reverse of the land they had left behind.  Moses speaks of it as “a desert land, and waste howling wilderness.” (Deut. 32: 10).

“That great and terrible wilderness, where there was no water.” (Deut. 8: 15). The Land of Promise was still behind them.  Spies went out to search the land, and to bring back a report. They brought back of the fruit of the land, and said, “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it” (Num. 13: 27). Nevertheless, they gave an evil report, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”  It is not altogether surprising that the heart of the people gave way to weeping.  In the face of all that had been done for them, they had not yet learned to trust in the Lord.  They said, “would God that we had died in the land of Egypt; or would God we had died in this wilderness.” (14: 2).  Little did they think when they so expressed themselves that “out of their own mouth they would he condemned.”  Yet so it was.  “As ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you, saith the Lord.  Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.” (verse 29).  The spies who brought back “a good report” were not included, but the others should wan­der “forty years”, and so bear their iniquity. 

When reading the brief Bible record of the waywardness of the children of Israel, we- in this our late day- probably do so as a matter of fact.  We see their sin and the punishment meted out.  But we should endeavor to visualize the situation from their point of view, if we would have the true perspective, and so be able to correctly apply the lesson. As yet they were not a people disciplined by the hand of God.  They had been subdued by long servitude.  Though submitting obediently to their taskmasters, in return for their labor they received the necessities of life.  These were guaranteed to them, even as a man will care for his beast of burden that he might obtain the best results there from.  In the land of their affliction the children of Israel had seen the arm of the Lord revealed in their behalf through Moses and Aaron, and were rejoiced to witness their own deliverance from Egypt, with the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host.  But the long period of slavery had crushed their spirit, and spirituality was little known amongst them.  They knew by bitter experience that Egypt was not their homeland; but the fullness of the promises, and the coven­ant made with the fathers, had little chance of fruition in their hearts and minds amidst the darkness of Egypt.  Truly, they were but a natural seed, even though the seed of Abraham.

With the characteristics naturally developed in this former environment, and the disappointment so keenly felt “in the waste howling wilderness,” it was very easy for them to forget God.  So whilst not taking away “the exceeding sinfulness of Sin,” extenuating circumstances may help us to see the why and wherefore of the sinner.  If this be not so, why are these things recorded for our learning? That these lessons are not to be overlooked is evident from the use made of them in apostolic days.  “Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a tes­timony of those things which were to be spoken after, Wherefore as the Holy Spirit saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works 40 years.  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard.  Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of un­belief.” These quotations from Hebrews 3 and 4 clearly demonstrate the lessons referred to.

We must now return from this digression. Balak, the king of Moab, said, “Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.”  But Balaam, with the word of the Lord in his mouth, answered, “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?  For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.   Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?  Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” (Num. 23: 7-10). “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!  As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.  He shall pour water out of buckets, and his seed in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion: who shall stir him up?  Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.”

Balaam said unto Balak, “Now, behold, I go unto my people:  come, I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. And what he said, was not what Balaam saw, or knew, of himself. His “eyes had been opened.” He testified that he had “heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High,” and having seen the vision of the Almighty, he declared in prophecy of the things to come “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Num. 24: 5-9, 14, 17-19).

The thoughts here expressed in prophecy concerning “the latter days” are readily associated with the things foretold in “the covenant,” which were to be developed before “the hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers” (Acts 26: 6), could be fulfilled in the inheritance of the land “for ever;” and the individ­ual seed to “possess the gates of his enemies.”

The wanderings in the wilderness continued according to heaven’s decree, and the long journey was coming to an end; wherefore, “Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan, in the wilderness, on this side Jordan in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying, The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the seaside, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them” (Deut. 1: 1-8).

As for Moses (even him, of whom it was recorded, “My servant Moses, who is faithful in all mine house.” (Num. 12: 7)-who was angered by the strife of the Israelites, “so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psa. 106: 32. 33)- we read “And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in the earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.  But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me; and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.  Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes; for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.  But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.” (Deut. 3: 23-28)

 

 

THE CHARGE BY MOSES TO ISRAEL

 

MOSES accepted the divine conclusion; no doubt with sadness of heart, but still with an endeavor to serve his God as he had continually done. He must leave his people, but before doing so he must “charge them before God” con­cerning their conduct, individually and collectively, as a people to whom the Eternal God had revealed Himself in their behalf.  For our present purpose I can but give some definite quotations which show the exalted position occupied by the people, and consequently the grave responsibilities resting upon them.  Moses sub­mitted these to them, and urged upon them the need to give heed thereto, and the absolute necessity of their compliance with the “statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it;” if they would remain the beneficiaries by divine favor.

Hear then the charge by Moses:

 

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judg­ments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I com­mand you.  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul dili­gently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy son’s sons. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; save a voice.  And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, lest ye corrupt yourselves. The Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace.  Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan. But I must die in this land; but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.  Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God.  For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.  And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.  For ask now of the days that are past....  Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice.  And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt.  Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee and thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.”

 

The foregoing quotations are from Deuteronomy 4. Following are from the seventh chapter:

“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.  But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his command­ments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them.  Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”

 

 

FROM THE JUDGES TO A KING

 

WHEN Moses directed the men- one of every tribe- to go and spy out the land, only two of them brought back a good report.  The others suffered the consequences of their evil doing- “even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord.” “But Joshua and Caleb lived still.” (Num 14: 37, 38).

“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” (Josh. 1: 1, 2).

After this came the time of the Judges, for about 450 years.  These events were later summarized by the apostle Paul, in a remarkable speech.

 

“Men of Israel,” said he, “and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of 40 years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.  And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he divided their land to them by lot.  And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of 450 years, until Samuel the prophet.” (Acts 13: 16-20).

 

We have already seen, in quotations from Exodus 19, the entry of the children of Israel into the wilderness of Sinai.  By the covenant of Sinai they were estab­lished “a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.” Here I wish to emphasize that the kingdom and nation so established was not a monarchy, but the divine ar­rangement continued under judges, until, against the expressed design and purpose of the God of Israel, the people themselves desired a king.  Although their request was granted it was to their hurt- not to the glory of God.  With but a few bright spots in their long line of kings their history onward was mantled in darkness, and disaster was their portion until the time came when no longer a king could reign over them, and “lead them,” as they had so urgently demanded in the day of Samuel. Samuel the good, a prophet of the Lord, was now an old man, and his sons whom he had made judges over Israel walked not in his ways, but turned aside, took bribes, and perverted judgment.  Such procedure could only engender unrest and confusion among the people; hence, we find “All the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (Sam. 8: 4, 5).

To change from a Theocratic-democracy to a monarchy was the proposed solution suggested by the people.  They did not seek to remedy the evil by a re­adjustment of the basic principle centered in the Constitution of Sinai, which would have been acceptable to God.  They were prepared to depart from God’s arrange­ment, and to establish their own way.  In this, as in many things, “there is a way which seemeth right to the sons of men, but the end” is not the salvation of God! “Let us be like all the nations,” was Israel’s cry, when Heaven’s decree was for them to be a separated nation.

Samuel saw beyond the vision of the people, and in his displeasure he ap­proached God.  But the Lord answered, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.(Verse 7).  There we have the true situation, “the whole matter in a nutshell,” “they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”  Guided by inspiration of the Almighty Samuel did “protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”  They were told, “He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself . . . he will take your daughters . . . he will take your fields, even the best of them, and give them to his servants .  .  . he will take the tenth of your seed .  .  . your young men .  .  . your asses .    . the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants.”  How stubborn is the heart of man when set to do his own way!  “The people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us .  .  . that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”

SAUL WAS CHOSEN to be their king.  But tragic and sad were the days of his reign.  A brighter page opened with the reign of David, who followed Saul, even though many a cloud is seen both at the beginning and the end thereof. We are told, “The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” (2 Sam 2: 4)  This did not find favor with all the people, for Abner took the son of Saul and made him king.  Ishbosheth   was 40 years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years.” (Verse 10).  “There was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David.” (2 Sam. 3:1).

Throughout all this THE PLAN was being developed.  The children of Israel were being dealt with even as Samuel had foretold.  During the troublesome reign of Saul the people had ample opportunity to remember the words of the prophet and their own determination to “have a king.”  In the development of the purpose of God in the changed conditions of His kingdom there was need for the transfer of power and authority to one who was more suitable for the dignity of the throne than Saul had shown himself to be; and one who should also reflect, in greater measure, the attributes of the Invisible King. Hence the call of David; “To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah from Dan to Beersheba.”  For, as the record shows, Abner had transferred his interests from Ishbosheth to David.Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you; now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.  And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth” (2 Sam. 3: 17-21).

And so it came to pass; for we read, “Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron .  .  . Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou was he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel; and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.  So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king of Israel. David was 30 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 40 years.  In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned 30 and three years over all Israel and Judah." (2 Sam. 5: 1-5).

 

 

DAVID

 

WE are now about 3,000 years down the river of time, as you may see on the screen, in the Adamic Era.  This is an epoch, as important as that of Abra­ham. For whilst the covenant with the “father of the faithful” is never lost sight of in all the developments of The Plan of salvation, “the sure mercies of David” form such an integral part of the same scheme that we persistently see this theme in “the things of the kingdom,” and “the only name given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 12).  The prophet Micah cries, “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou has sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”  And the Psalmist adds his voice, saying, “Lord, where are thy former loving kindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?” (Psa. 89: 49). What was it that had been “sworn unto David”? The answer is to found in some of the most remarkable testimony contained in the Bible.

“Say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:  And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great that are in the earth.  Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his king­dom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I wilt be his father, and he shall be my son.  If he commit iniquity (or, rather, in his suffering for iniquity), I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men (or, stripes due to the sons of Adam):  But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee:  thy throne shall be established for ever.”

 

Such were the words spoken by Nathan the prophet to David.  They concerned David, his house, his kingdom and his throne. They foretold the coming of a Son of David, who would also be Son of God. They depicted His suffering on account of iniquity, though not His own wrongdoing. The mercy of the Lord was guar­anteed to Him. The throne to be given Him was to be “for ever.” And the nation of Israel after being moved from place to place- afflicted, tormented- would at last find a resting place for the soles of their feet, in their own land, under the beneficent reign of this Greater Son of David.  This future day of blessedness was perceived by David, who “sat before the Lord” and acknowledged His Supremacy.  “Thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come.” In his ascription of praise David declares, “Thou art great, O Lord God: there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all we have heard with our ears. And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel?  For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee forever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.  And now, O Lord God, the word that thou has spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou has said.” (2 Sam. 7)

It is fitting to supplement the foregoing testimony with a quotation from 2 Sam. 23: 1-7.  I submit a translation of these verses as given by Dr, Thomas in The Herald of the Kingdom, 1855.  The reader can compare it with the A. V.

 

“Now these words of David, the last, are an oracle of David, son of Jesse, even an oracle of the mighty man concerning an anointed one of the gods of Jacob, and the pleasantest theme of Israel’s songs.  The Spirit of Jehovah spake through me, and His word was upon my tongue; gods of Israel spake to me, and the Rock of Israel discoursed, saying, There shall be a just man ruling over mankind, ruling in the righteous precepts of the gods.  And as the brightness of morning He shall arise, the sun of an unclouded dawn shining forth after rain upon the tender grass out of the earth.  Though my house is not perfect with the Mighty One, yet he hath ordained for me the covenant of the age, ordered in everything and sure; truly this is all my salvation and all my delight, tho’ he cause it not to spring forth.  But the wicked shall be all of them as a thorn bush to be thrust away; yet without hand shall they be taken: neverthe­less a man shall smite upon them: he shall be filled with iron and the shaft of a spear, but with fire to burn up while standing they shall be consumed.”

 

That an immediate fulfillment to the promises, in the preceding testimonies, was not to be expected should readily be discerned by all who give heed to the language employed.  Indeed, such could not be.  The house, kingdom and throne of David were to continue.  That which was spoken was “for a great while to come.”  Hence, it is said, “David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” (Jer. 33: 17).

This does not teach that the throne of David would “continue in perpetuity;” that it would always continue without a break- that from that day onward there would be a throne somewhere in the world which would be David’s throne, and that a king would sit thereon and rule the House of Israel!  The facts are against such an interpretation. The throne was established in the land, which was the choice of Israel’s God.  It is a land, which the Lord God “cared for.” (Deut. 11: 12). Of that land we read:  “The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever; here will I dwell: for I have desired it. There will I make the horn of David to bud.” (Psa. 132: 13-17). It is a land not forgotten even though for many generations a desolation.

The voice of prophecy says, “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.” (Psa. 102: 13-22). Where is the throne of David today? Go through the length and breadth of the land covenanted to Abraham, and will you find there the kingdom of David? And is Jerusalem today graced with the throne of David? Read yet again, “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. If his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments: If they break my statutes, and keep not my com­mandments: Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” (Psa. 89).

DID THE SPIRIT OF GOD, thus testifying to the continuity of the throne “as the sun and the moon,” expect us to interpret His words as signifying that there never would be a day when the throne would not manifestly be in existence? The next verse (39) prohibits such a conclusion: “But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground. Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.

There is no contradiction in these testimonies. The reader who desires to un­derstand The Plan of the Ages must acknowledge, and follow after, the apostolic injunction; “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2: 15). Failure to “rightly divide the word” is the cause of many misconceptions and misapplications of the Scriptures. As with the Abrahamic Covenant, which embraces a temporary and a future inheritance of the land, so with the promise to David- the continu­ance of the temporal kingdom was dependent upon obedience by the people to the law of God. The final and complete fulfillment was dependent upon the Son who should “suffer for iniquity,” just as the promise to Abraham looked for the “Seed to whom the promise was made.” The disobedience of the people, which resulted in the overturning of the kingdom, the casting down of the throne and profanation of the crown, together with the scattering of the people- whilst creating a suspen­sion- did not negative the covenant. Therefore, in answer to the question, in verse 49 of the Psa1m, “Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?” there can be but one answer. They are in promise still!

WE MUST NOW RETURN TO, and follow, the history of the kingdom of God- for such was the kingdom of Israel. Before turning into the bypath of divine beauty from which we have just emerged, we left David established upon the throne as king over all Israel and Judah. We take up the story toward the close of his reign. David assembled all the princes of Israel, captains of companies, captains of thousands, and of hundreds, stewards, officers, mighty men and valiant men unto Jerusalem. David the king, stood up upon his feet, and addressed the assembly.

 

“Hear me, my brethren, and my people: I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord. But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Howbeit the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: And of all my sons (for the Lord hath given me many sons), he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And he said unto me, I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments, as at this day.”

 

DAVID, THE KING, urged the people to “keep and seek for all the com­mandments of the Lord your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.” To Solomon he gave the warning word: “if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” (I Chron. 28).

Continuity was dependent upon obedience. David made known his desires to the people and in responding “The people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly to the Lord. And the king blessed the Lord before all the congregation, and ack­nowledged, “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” “And they sacri­ficed sacrifices unto the Lord . . . and did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness.” After this they made Solomon king, and "Then Solomon

sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered. Such is the record of 1 Chron. 29, which closes with the announcement of David’s death. “And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.”

 

SOLOMON- AND DECLENSION

 

SOLOMON was now king over all Israel. Times were good, and the people contented. “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in mul­titude, eating and drinking, and making merry. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4: 20-25).

Solomon built- what David had designed and purposed, but was forbidden to do- a house for the habitation of God. After the consecration of the temple “the Lord appeared unto Solomon by night,” and acknowledged the prayer of the king. In doing so, however, conditional promises were extended to the king and the people: “As for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked . . . Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them: and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.” And when any who pass by shall say ‘Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?’ the answer should be ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.” (2 Chron. 7).

How lamentably sad that Solomon, who commenced his reign under such mag­nificent and wonderful conditions, should at last fall so far behind by disregarding the statutes and judgments so definitely placed before him! For of Solomon, when he was old, it is said, “his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” Submitting to the allurements of the women of other nations, concerning whom the Lord had said “Ye shall not go in to them, for they will surely turn away your heart after their gods,” Solomon demonstrated the wis­dom of God in forbidding such association. “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians . . . and did evil in the sight of the Lord.” “Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” Not immediately- “for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.” And then, as though looking down the river of time, and seeing the unfolding of the calami­ties which would befall this people, and remembering the seed of Abraham and of David to whom the promises were made, and knowing that the servant to whom the kingdom was to be transferred would not follow the Lord, another promise was given; “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”

As foreseen and foretold, so it came to pass. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, “lifted up his hand against the king”; for the prophet Ahijah had met him alone in a field, and taking from him a new garment had “rent it in twelve pieces.” Ten of the pieces were given to Jeroboam, and the prophet said, “Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the king­dom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee.” Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, but he fled into Egypt, remaining there until the death of Solomon, which occurred at the end of forty years reign over all Israel. “And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.”

 

 

THE KINGDOM DIVIDED

 

HERE were now two kings, and a divided kingdom. The position is stated as follows: “And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel; there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehohoam the son of Solomon.” ( l Kings 12: 20, 21). But this was against the decree of heaven, as the record proceeds to show; and so being told not to go up, nor fight against their brethren, they “returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.” But Jeroboam was fearful, lest the tribes given to him might seek to return to the house of David. “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy god’s, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And Jeroboam ordained a feast, and he offered upon the altar.”

THUS JEROBOAM SINNED, AND MADE ISRAEL TO SIN. Two chapters further on (1 Kings 14) we have judgments against Jeroboam, which were duly executed; and down the line of kings which succeeded him, we hear the oft-repeated cry, that they “walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin”; until finally the kingdom of the House of Israel came to an end, B.C. 721.

 

THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL “REMOVED”

 

THERE is little, if anything, to the credit of the kings of Israel from the day of     Jeroboam to the end of their reign, when the ten tribes were led away into captivity; the record of which is as follows: “The king of Assyria came up through­out all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God . . . and walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out. .  . And the children of Israel did secretly things that were not right . . .they set up images and groves, and burnt incense in all the high places. They served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.  For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; and departed not from them; Until the Lord re­moved Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” (2 Kings 17. see also 2 Kings 18: 11, 12).

In the prophecy of Hosea we have the same matter foretold in these words, “For yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel . . . for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” (1: 4- 6).  Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay the beloved (or the desires) of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.” (Hosea 9: 16, 17). So, after about 300 years as a separate house from the House of Judah, the kingdom of Israel was “smitten,” “dried up,” “cast out of his sight,” and “caused to cease” from being a kingdom, with no hope of restoration until the House of Israel shall be re-joined to the House of Judah, in a yet future day.

 

THE HOUSE OF JUDAH

 

THE kingdom of Rehoboam did not come to an end along with the kingdom of Jeroboam. Hosea, in depicting the end of the House of Israel, added these words:  “But I will have mercy upon the House of Judah.” Following down the line of Rehoboam one might find a few bright spots amidst evil days. We read, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; but sought to the God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. And his heart was lifted up (encouraged) in the ways of the Lord: Moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.” (2 Chron. 17: 1, 6).

It is interesting to note the development, in numbers, of the House of Judah so far as figures are given in two chapters regarding the fighting men. In 2 Chron. 11: 1, we have mention of 180,000 warriors of the House of Judah and Benjamin; whilst in chapter 17 we have a total of 1,160,000, representing a growth of almost seven to one. The contrast with the House of Israel is very striking, especially in view of the claims of some present-day theories. They are described as “two little flocks of kids.” (1 Kings 20: 27). About seventy years before that they were “800,000 chosen men,” twice as many as the House of Judah, which at that time mus­tered “400,000 men.” (2 Chron. 13: 3). One hundred and fifteen years later (than this 800,000) the picture of Israel is decidedly worse than that of Judah, for we have mention of but 10,000- “fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot­men: for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.” (2 Kings 13: 7).

The beauty of Hezekiah’s faith and trust in God (which, when he was “sick unto death,” brought him the favor of heaven, in that fifteen years were added to his days, 2 Kings 20: 6) was overshadowed by his reception of the men from Babylon, to whom he “shewed all the house of his precious things,” his armor and his treasures. This did not meet with approval, for Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord” (verse 17). Hezekiah died, and Man­asseh his son reigned in his stead. And what then? But twelve years old when he began to reign, Manassah reigned fifty years in Jerusalem; long and evil were his days. He built again the high places which Hezekiah had destroyed, and “reared up altars for Baal, and worshipped all the host of heaven. He desecrated the house of the Lord, dealt with familiar spirits, and wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord.” “And Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.” (2 Kings 21: 1-9).

At the age of twenty-two years Amon succeeded to the throne. But he did not improve the situation. “He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did.” He was slain, in his own house, by his own servants; who in turn were slain by the people. Then the cloud was lifted for a while.

 

 

JOSIAH AND THE PASSOVER

 

JOSIAH came to the throne, being eight years old. He reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. How refreshing to read “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” When “the words of the book of the law” were read before the king, “he rent his clothes.” He humbled himself before God, and endeavored to destroy the idolatry, which he found in Judah. In hope of bringing the people back to “the way of the Lord” Josiah the king commanded the people to keep the passover. This act of the king was one of the outstanding events in the checkered career of the Houses of Israel and Judah. Having gone through the land, “breaking in pieces the images, and cutting down the groves”; also “the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove,” he returned to Jerusalem. From this “city of the great king” he issued his decree: “Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.”

WHAT IS THIS PASSOVER, which pertains to the covenant? Here let us look at the chart. We go back to Egypt, represented by the Pyramid. There, as we have seen, the Egyptian’s had oppressed and cruelly afflicted the children of Israel. But “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper:  The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in.” (Psa. 121). That was true in the time of the Exodus, even as when the Psalmist so beautifully expressed his confidence in God. To Abraham God had said, “That nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge.” God did not forget. “He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen. They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness. He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish. Frogs came forth in abundance. Divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. He smote their vines and fig trees. The locusts came and caterpillars without number. He smote also the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.” As for the children of Israel, God “brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble among their tribes.” No wonder that “Egypt was glad when they departed.” (Psa. 105).

Israel, however, did not come out of Egypt in full strength, and with great substance, without first manifesting faith in, and obedience to God. On the chart we have depicted a small family outside their dwelling. Mother and daughter look on, whilst the son holds a basin: the father is in the act of striking the lintel and the side posts, on the outside of the entrance. This they did because they believed in God. The Lord directed Moses and Aaron to speak unto “all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb. . .a lamb for an house. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in the night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs. . . And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover.”

IN WHAT SENSE WAS IT A “PASSOVER”? God was about to show, very effectively, His mighty power upon Egypt; and also to demonstrate how He could aid His people and deliver them from their persecutors. This information was given to His people, but not without impressing upon them the fact that they could obtain His favor only by complying with His requirements. Hence the detailed instructions, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods (or, princes) of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.”

Did “all the firstborn in the land” include the firstborn of the children of Israel? Not if they obeyed God by keeping the law given concerning the Passover! But if they disobeyed they, too, would suffer when the avenging angel passed over the land of Egypt. By what sign were they saved from the fate of the Egyptians? Could not God have saved them without a sign? Was not the power of God sufficient of itself? There are some today who reason along these lines in regard to the “sub­stance”, of which the matter now being dealt with was but a shadow! The power of the All-powerful is sufficient to accomplish all His will, at any time and under all circumstances, should He choose to direct His power to that end. But in the scheme of redemption God’s Plan calls for compliance, on the part of those to be benefited thereby, with whatever laws and statutes He may see fit to impose upon them.  Non-compliance simply means that the benefits would not be conferred. Therefore the sign, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I WILL PASS OVER YOU, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” Further instructions were given, after which we read: “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb accord­ing to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”

THIS WAS TO BE CONTINUALLY OBSERVED “throughout their gener­ations.” And to their children who should ask the meaning of such a service, they were to answer: “It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and de­livered our houses.” This happened at midnight, and when the Egyptians realized it, they urged the children of Israel to get out of the land in haste. This they did after first borrowing of the Egyptians such things as they desired and required. So “they spoiled the Egyptians,” and came out with great substance. “And it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.  It is a night much to be observed unto the Lord, in their generations.”

To emphasize its significance and importance, an “ordinance of the passover” was placed on record: “There shall no stranger eat thereof.” “When a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be cir­cumcised; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.” (Ex. 12).

SUCH WAS THE PASSOVER, AND THE ORDINANCE THEREOF. In the backslidings of Israel the ordinances had been disregarded, and abominable prac­tices had taken their place. It was the realization of all this that stirred the heart of Josiah to such activity, that he took away those things with which “the kings of Israel had provoked the Lord to anger”; and which prompted him to seek the favor of God toward his people- by turning their hearts, once again, to that Way of the Lord by which they had become the people of God; separated from all peoples. The people responded to the call of the king, when he commanded them to “keep the passover.” It was a red-letter day in the annals of a retrograde nation; one bright spot on a clouded horizon- interesting and appealing while it lasted; but it was unable to stem the tide, or to prevent the bursting of the cloud, in which was the pent-up wrath and anger of the Lord, against that people. “Surely,” we are in­formed, “there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.” (2 Kings 23: 21-23). What a tribute is extended to him in the words, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.”

The passover was a feast intended- not only to commemorate Israel’s deliv­erance from Egypt, but also to keep before the mind of the people the value of Sacrifices as ordained of God. “Without shedding of blood is no remission”.  This is Bible doctrine; its purport, necessity, and application must be discerned before anyone (either type or antitype) can approach God acceptably. Only when under cover of the blood, sprinkled according to the ordinance, could even the houses of the Israelites be saved from the avenger who passed through the land of Egypt; as if they themselves were contaminated by the very association with the land of darkness and iniquity. It was an added link to the chain of sacrificial instructions and institutions, which originated when “sin came into the world, and death by sin;” all of which were intended to show that none could escape from the realm of darkness, sin and death, without the passover of, and by, the Lord. This will be further demonstrated when we deal with the anti-type.

            WE MUST NOW RETURN TO THE HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE. The sincerity of Josiah, in his efforts to improve the condition of the people, was recognized by the Lord God; even though that which Josiah had done could not change the decree, which had gone forth. So it was said unto him, “Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place”. (2 Kings 22: 20).

Josiah reigned thirty-one years, when he was slain at Megiddo, where he sought to oppose the king of Egypt. The doom of his kingdom had been foretold, “not-withstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I have said, My Name shall be there.” (2 Kings 23: 26, 27).

Two sons of Josiah followed after his death, but both did evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehoahaz reigned but three months, when he was removed by Pharaoh-­nechoh, who also made Eliakim king, and changed his name to Jehoiakim, who reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. When “Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, Jehoia­chin his son reigned.” He too, “reigned in Jerusalem three months, and did that which was evil.” At that time Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon, and Zedekiah was placed on the throne by the king of Babylon. But the conqueror did not leave the treasures and might of the kingdom behind him- those he carried away. “All the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said . . . men of valor, craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.” (2 Kings 24: 13, 14).

Zedekiah, on the throne, likewise “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”; he also “rebelled against the king of Babylon.” So, “in the ninth year of his reign,” the forces of Babylon again came against Jerusalem, “and the city was be­sieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.” When famine prevailed, and there was no bread for the people of the land, “the city was broken up.” The men of war fled, also the king; they, however, were pursued by the army of the Chaldees. Zede­kiah was captured and taken to the king of Babylon to Riblah. The sons of Zede­kiah were slain before him; his own eyes were “put out,” and then he, bound with fetters of brass, was carried to Babylon. In the nineteenth year of king Nebuchad­nezzar, his captain of the guard came unto Jerusalem, where “he burnt the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.” Many of the people he carried away, leaving “the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.” The “brass of the vessels” taken from the house of the Lord “was without weight.” All this, in addition to gold and silver, “the captain of the guard took away.” Chief citizens, the chief marshal, and threescore men found in the city were brought before Babylon’s king, who “smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath.” “So Judah was carried away out of their land.” (2 Kings 25).

Did the Lord God of their fathers entirely forget and forsake His people during this development of events before the conquering forces of Babylon came upon them? No indeed! Further details are given in the Book of Chronicles. Zedekiah was made king over Judah and Jerusalem.” Yet he rebelled against the one who had made him king, “who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel. Not only the king “did evil,” but also “the chief of the priests, and the people.” They trans­gressed, and polluted the house of the Lord. Yet, for all this, the God of Abraham failed not to show “that his mercy endureth for ever.” As it is written, “And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his pro­phets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

Then judgment fell upon the city and the people; “And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.  (2 Chron. 36: 9-21). Well might the Spirit testify through the prophet, “And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, over­turn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezek. 21: 25, 27).

In this way the Kingdom of Judah came to an end about 130   years after the Kingdom of Israel. The separation of the nation into two kingdoms, being the result of the iniquity of the people, was not to the credit of any concerned. The captivity of the people, with the overthrow of the two Houses, was likewise a pun­ishment for their sins. There was a partial restoration of the people to their own land, and a rebuilding of the temple and the wall of Jerusalem in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. But the throne was not again set up, and hence the kingdom was not restored. Indeed, it could not be! The throne and kingdom were to be “over­turned” until a “set time” should arrive. And this “overturn” does not signify that the throne should three times be turned over to someone else- a claim foolishly made by some people. The overturn was to be an upsetting, or overthrow. The kingdom cannot be restored, and the throne reestablished, “until He come, whose right it is. If therefore a throne should be set up in Jerusalem, pretending to be the throne of David, before He comes, USURPER would be the name of whoever sat upon it. Now mark this well! The throne of Israel cannot be set up in any other place than that in which it was established in days of old. Zion cannot be found among the mountains of the U.S.A. or the throne of David in the British Isles. “He whose right it is” must be of the House and lineage of David. The true heir to David’s throne cannot be found on earth, among the sons of men. He came, but did not obtain His inheritance. He will come again, and in that “day of His coming” He will obtain His “right.” The people continued, subject to the powers of the kingdoms of men, until the time came for them to fill up the cup of their iniquity, and then, they who did not perish in the siege of Jerusalem were scattered, and remain so to this day.

These facts are briefly presented by the lines and approximate dates along the top of the chart. The illustration commences with that period of Israel’s departure from Egypt- B.C. 1491. Ex. 19:1-6 tells of their going forth from that land, and their coming into the wilderness of Sinai. God’s message to them and their declaration of obedience to Him. Then we have a cross line with reference to Lev. 26, which chapter deals with blessings for obedience, and punishments for disobedience. “Seven times for your sins” (a matter for later consideration). Here we also have DAVID, B.C. 1048; the testimony of 2 Sam. 5, has already been given. The next line pre­sents SOLOMON, B.C. 1015. Then, having just entered the fourth period (of the 7,000 year Plan) we have a break in the single line with REHOBOAM, B.C. 975, and JEROBOAM; the upper line now representing the Kingdom of Judah, and the lower line the Kingdom of Israel, i.e., in their divided state. The latter, which first came to an end, B.C. 721, is shown in the short line, whilst the Kingdom of Judah, yet continuing, is shown by the longer line. To one cross line we have the date B.C. 606, in which year “Nineveh was taken and desolated by the Babylonians and Medes, according to the predictions of Nahum, uttered a hundred years before. Assyria, now no longer an independent nation, was merged in the Empire of which Babylon was the capital.” “In that same year the captivity of the Jews commenced by Nebu­chadnezzer, who attacked and made prisoner Jehoiakim, king of Judah” (See 2 Chron. 36: 6, and Jer. 25: 9).

By the next cross line we are directed to Ezek. 21: 27, which, as we have seen, tells of the end of the “profane wicked prince of Israel, and the “overturning” of the throne and kingdom. B.C. 588 saw the desolation of Jerusalem, the captivity of Judah, and Zedekiah, with others, carried to Babylon. The last date B.C. 536 refers to the release of the Jews from captivity, by the decree of Cyrus the Persian, which led to a partial restoration, and rebuilding of the city wall, and temple; which was finished and dedicated B.C. 515. (Ezra 6: 14-22).

We cannot emphasize too strongly that the calamities which befell the two Houses of Israel arose from, and were the result of, their sin against God; and were indeed the outcome of that which He declared to them would arise in their midst, when they rejected Him, that “He should not be king over them.” Whether we consider “the ten tribes” or “the two tribes” as separate houses or kingdoms the conclusion must be the same. They sinned and were punished. There is absolutely no foundation for believing that the scattering of the ten tribes was for the purpose of exalting them to a position of greatness, in other lands, which they failed to accomplish in their own land. This will be further elaborated when we deal with the restoration of the Jews to the covenanted-land.

The way of both the Houses of Israel- for such they were, irrespective of the necessary distinctive appellations during the period of their operations as separate “kingdoms”- is well expressed by Nehemiah. “Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven. So the children went in and possessed the land. They did eat and were filled, and became fat. Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testi­fied against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. There­fore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviors, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee; therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them. Many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mer­cies; and testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law; yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not, but sinned against thy judgments. Many years didst thou forbear them, yet would they not give ear; therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou has done right, but we have done wickedly.” (Chapter 9)

Hear now a parable. “There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.”

Compare this parabolic language with the Apostles later statement: “God, who spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” (Heb. 1: 1). Having presented the foregoing parable, to the chief priests and Pharisees, the Master asked, “When the lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” To this they answered; “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Having thus committed them­selves, Jesus saith, “Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt. 21: 33-43). Under another parable we are told, “When the king heard thereof, he was wroth and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” (Matt. 22: 7).

The Pharisees now realized that Jesus spake of them in His scathing denuncia­tions, and sought to excuse themselves; saying, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Wherefore said Jesus, “Ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.”(Matt. 23:30, 31).

But before they “killed the Son,” Jesus came near, and beholding the city “wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come, that thine enemies . . . shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; because thou KNEWEST NOT the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19: 41-44).  What depth of feeling, sorrow and compassion, was in the heart of Jesus when He cried, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23: 37-39).

When the populace clamored for the crucifixion of Jesus they cried, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” The record of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem A.D. 70 constitutes one of the most horrible pages in the annals of time. Though the Romans were not “the people” of God, as were Israel, nevertheless the armies of Rome, under Titus, became the armies of God, which went forth “to destroy those murderers,” even as the parable had foretold.  The temple was destroyed, against the order of Titus, who said, “When I came near your temple, I departed from the laws of war, and exhorted you to spare your own sanctuary, and to preserve your holy house to yourselves”-Josephus. When the Romans became “masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful ac­clamations for the victory they had gained. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without mercy, and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching anything. But they had not the same commiseration for those that were alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree in­deed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood.” The “soldiers were already quite tired with killing men,” therefore the order was given “that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take the rest alive.” “Fronto slew all those that had been seditions and robbers; of the young men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above seven-teen years old, he put them in bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines.  When he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left the towers as a monument of his good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him.” -Josephus, Wars of the Jews.

Milman’s History of the Jews gives the following figures, based upon Josephus: Killed before the War, under Vespasian, 129,500. During the war in Galilee and Judea: 118,300. At Jerusalem: 1,100,000. After the fall of Jerusalem: 8,660. Total killed, 1,356,460. Total prisoners: 101,700.

It had now become a broken kingdom- a throne overturned: a people scattered. “Many days without a king” (Hosea 3: 4) as the prophet had foretold, it was to be.