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particularly in Spain and Portugal, the children of the Jews have been taken from them, by order of the government, to be educated in the Popish faith. There have been some instances of such cruelty even in Protestant countries.*
§ 12. That they should there be compelled to worship idols, Deut. 28. 36. “The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known: and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone." The Israelites, who were carried captive by the Assyrians, and many of the Jews in Chaldea, were finally incorporated with the nations among whom they lived, and were given up to their idolatry. It is probable, however, that this refers to Jews being compelled, in Popish countries, to conceal their religion, and profess that of the Romish Church.*
§ 13. That they should become a proverb and byword, Deut. 28. 37. "And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee." The name of Jew has long been a proverbial mark of detestation and contempt, among all the nations whither they have been dispersed, and is so to this day whether among Christians, Mohammedans, or Pagans.*
§ 14. That nevertheless they should continue to be preserved a distinct people, Num. 23. 10. “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." They shall ever be a distinct nation. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled through a period of 3300 years to the present day. For, notwithstanding their captivities and dispersion through every country on the face of the globe, they still dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations;' they have been preserved from being confounded with their conquerors and oppressors in foreign lands, in a manner absolutely unprecedented in the annals of the world. Nothing can account for it, but the special Providence of God, to fulfil his pleasure, as declared to the prophet Jeremiah, (ch. 31. 35-37.) "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." As surely as the heavenly bodies shall continue their settled course, according to the appointment of the Creator, to the end of time; and as the raging sea obeys His mandate: so surely shall the Israelites continue a distinct people. Hitherto this prophecy has received a literal and most wonderful accomplishment: the Jews dispersed among all nations, are yet not confounded with any, but remain a distinct people among all the inhabitants of the earth; while the
great and mighty monarchies, which successively subdued and oppressed the people of God, are vanished as a dream, and their very names as well as power have become extinct in the world.*
(22.) Prophecies of our Saviour respecting the destruction of
Jerusalem, the ancient capital of Judea, is situated in long. 35 deg. 20. min. E., lat. 31 deg. 47 min. 47 sec. N.; and, according to the best authorities, 136 miles S.W. of Damascus, 34 miles S. of Shechem or Nablous, 45 miles E. of Jaffa, 27 miles N. of Hebron, and about 20 miles W. of Jericho. The city of Jerusalem was built on hills, and encompassed with mountains, (Ps.cxxv. 2.) in a stony and barren soil, and was about 16 furlongs in length, says Strabo, (1. xvi.) The ancient city of Jebus, taken by David from the Jebusites, was not large; and stood on a mountain south of that on which the temple was erected. Here David built a new city, called the city of David, wherein was the royal palace. Between these two mountains lay the valley of Millo, filled up by David and Solomon; and after the reign of Manasseh, another city is mentioned called the second. The Maccabees considerably enlarged Jerusalem on the north, enclosing a third hill; and Josephus mentions a fourth hill, called Bezetha, which Agrippa joined to the former: this new city lay north of the temple, along the brook Kidron.† Thus, according to the prophecy of Zechariah, (ch. ii. 4.) Josephus informs us, (Bel. 1. v. c. 4. §. 2.) that Jerusalem actually overflowed with inhabitants, and gradually extended itself beyond its walls, and that Herod Agrippa fortified the new part, called Bezetha.*
§ 1. The signs by which it was to be preceded.
(i.) The FIRST SIGN, the appearance of false Christs, or Messiahs, Luke xxi. 8.
"And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them." Such were Simon Magus, (Acts viii. 9, 10.), Dositheus the Samaritan, (Origen, Cont. Cels. l. 1.); Theudas, when Fadus was procurator, (Joseph. Ant. 1. xx. c. 4. § 1.); and the numerous impostors who arose when Felix was procurator, who 'were apprehended and killed every day.' (Ibid. c. 7. § 5.)*
(ii.) The SECOND SIGN, Wars and commotions, Luke xxi. 9, 10. "But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass: but the end is not by and by." These may be seen in Josephus; and especially as to the rumours of wars when Caligula ordered his statue to be set up in the temple. Ant. 1. xviii. c. 9. Bel. 1. ii. c. 10.*
“Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and king
dom against kingdom."-This portended the dissensions, insurrections, and mutual slaughter of the Jews, and those of other nations, who resided in the same cities, in which thousands perished; the open wars of different tetrarchies ; and the civil wars in Italy between Otho and Vitellius. Josephus, Ant. 1. xx. Bel. l. ii.*
(iii.) The THIRD SIGN, Great earthquakes, Luke xxi. 11.
"And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences."-As that at Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, (see Grotius), Rome, (Tacit. 1. xii.), Laodicea, (Idem, 1. xiv.), Hierapolis and Colosse, Campania, (Seneca, Nat. Quæst. l. vi. c. i.), and Judea, (Josephus, Bel. 1. iv. c. 4.)*
(iv.) FOURTH SIGN, Famines, and pestilences, ib.
Thus there was a famine predicted by Agabus, (Acts xi. 28.) which was probably that which took place in the fourth year of Claudius, which continued for several years, and in which, says Josephus, (Ant. lib. xx. c. 2.) many died for want of food.'*
(v.) The FIFTH SIGN, Sights and signs from heaven, ib.
"And fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”— Josephus, in the preface to his history of the Jewish wars, relates, that a star hung over the city like a sword, and a comet continued a whole year; that the people being at the feast of unleavened bread, at the ninth hour of the night, a great light shone around the altar and temple, and continued an hour; that a cow led to sacrifice brought forth a lamb; that just before sun-set chariots and armies were seen all over the country fighting in the clouds, and besieging cities, &c. &c.*
(vi.) The SIXTH SIGN, the persecution of the Christians, Luke xxi. 12
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."-The Acts of the Apostles, and the history of the persecutions under Nero, furnish a complete verification of this prophecy. See pages 62, 63, supra.
(vii.) The SEVENTH SIGN, the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, Mar. xiii. 10. "The Gospel must first be published among all nations," for the fulfilment of which see p. 28, supra.
§ 2. The circumstances of the destruction of Jerusalem.
• Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
when ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." Luke 19. 43, "For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side." "Cast a trench,' or 'cast a bank,' or rampart, xapak. This was literally fulfilled when Jerusalem was besieged by Titus; who surrounded it with a wall of circumvallation in three days, though not less than thirty-nine furlongs in circumference; and when this was effected, the Jews were so enclosed on every side, that no person could escape from the city, and no provision could be brought in. See Josephus, Bel. I. v. c. 12.*
(ii.) The escape of the Christians who were then at Jerusalem, from it. Luke 21. 21. "Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto." Accordingly, when Cestius Gallus came against Jerusalem, and unexpectedly raised the siege, Josephus (Bel. 1. ii. c. 19, 20,) states, that many of the noble Jews departed out of the city, as out of a sinking ship; and, when Vespasian afterwards drew towards it, a great multitude fled to the mountains, (Ibid. 1. iv. c. 8.) And we learn from Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. 1. iii. c. 5,) and Epiphanius, (Adver. Nazar. 1. i. tom. 2,) that at this juncture, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem, and removed to Pella, and other places beyond Jordan; and so escaped the general shipwreck of their country, that we do not read of one who perished in Jerusalem.*
(iii.) The appearance of false Christs and false prophets during the siege, Mat. 24. 23-26. “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." Our Lord not only foretells the appearance of these impostors, but also the manner and circumstance of their conduct. Accordingly Josephus, (Ant. 1. xx. c. 7. Bel. l. ii. c. 13,) says, that many impostors persuaded the people to follow them to the desert, promising them signs and wonders done by the providence of God. (See also Acts 21. 38. Ant. 1. xx. c. 7. Bel. 1. vii. c. 11.) One persuaded the people to go up into the temple, which being set on fire by the Romans, 6000 perished in the flames, Bel. 1. vi. c. 5.*
(iv.) The miseries of the Jews during and subsequent to the siege, Luke 21.22-24. "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations." Those who
perished in the siege were 1,100,000, besides vast numbers who were slain at other times and places; and nearly 100,000 were taken and sold for slaves; and their nation has been dispersed in the countries for upwards of 1700 years, while their city has been trodden under foot of the Romans, Saracens, Mamelukes, Franks, and Turks, who possess it to this day.* The miseries they endured were such, that our Lord, foreseeing these evils, turned to the women who followed him to the crucifixion, and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us." (See Luke 23. 28-30.) The destruction of Jerusalem, and the final desolation of the Jewish state, was an evil associated with so many miseries, that sterility, which had otherwise been considered an opprobrium, was accounted a circumstance most felicitous. No history can furnish us with a parallel to the calamities and miseries of the Jews; rapine and murder, famine and pestilence within; fire and sword, and all the terrors of war without. Our Saviour himself wept at the foresight of these calamities; and it is almost impossible for persons of any humanity to read the relation of them in Josephus without weeping also. He might justly affirm, if the misfortunes of all, from the beginning of the world, were compared with those of the Jews, they would appear much inferior in the comparison.' Prom. § 4.†
(v.) The total destruction of the temple and city, Mat. 24. 2. "And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Luke 19. 44, “And they shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Luke 21. 24, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Josephus, (Bel. 1. vii. c. 1,) says, that Cæsar gave orders that they should now demolish the whole city and temple, except the three towers Phaselus, Hippicus, and Mariamne, and a part of the western wall; but all the rest was laid so completely even with the ground, by those who dug it up from the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those who came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.' The Jewish writers also inform us, that Turnus Rufus, whom Titus had left in command, ploughed up the very foundations of the temple. When Dr. Richardson visited this sacred spot in 1818, he found one part of Mount Zion supporting a crop of barley, and another undergoing the labour of the plough: the soil turned up consisted of stone and lime mixed with earth, such as is usually met with in foundations of ruined cities. It is nearly a mile in circumference; is highest on the west side; and, towards the east, falls down in broad terraces on the upper part of the
+ Idem, Note on Matt. 24. 2.
⚫ Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.