Israel's Two Infallible Signs As Stated By Moses
"For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created humans on the earth, and from the one end of heaven to the other: Has there been anything as great as this thing, or has anything been heard like it?" (Deuteronomy 4:32, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible).
"Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire as you have heard, and live?" (Deuteronomy 4:33, ibid.).
"Or has any god tried to go and take for himself a nation from the midst of another nation by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:34, ibid.)
In this solemn Rehearsal of the Law to the children of those he had brought out of Egypt, the departing Lawgiver at the close of the wilderness sojourning, reminds them of their two GRAND AND INVARIABLE DISTINCTIONS OR IDENTIFICATIONS as the people of God. He places the last first as looking backward, and in the order of their intrinsic value and importance. But let us look at them in their historical or chronological order; and that especially in the light in which they are presented, and the conclusion based on them, as to Israel's revival in the last days. This is the first main point to be observed.
Our opponents constantly quote Moses' words in the 27th verse of Deuteronomy chapter four, "you will be left few in number among the nations, " as a prediction of Israel's present condition, and as a final refutation of our teaching. They willfully ignore, or they want others to ignore, the marks given in the words immediately before and after of Israel in this state of covenant rejection, viz. -- (1) "The Lord will scatter you among the peoples; " and (2) "There you will serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone. " Both these marks are directly connected with and are inseparable from Israel's being "few in number," and both are exactly opposite to the condition in which Israel under the New or Christian Covenant, must now be. And this Moses expressly goes on to show in the passage before us, which our opponents disingenuously "wrest as they do also the other Scriptures to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16) For why do they not quote the whole passage fairly in its obvious meaning and intention, and as Moses thus continues his recital, "But if from thence [that is, while yet in lands remote from Palestine] you shall seek the Lord your God, you shall find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29) And then follows, as rightly rendered in the Revised Standard Version, a most positive prophecy of Israel's conversion and recovery: "When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice, for the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them." (Deuteronomy 4:30-31) And then, in farther proof of this repentance and recovery of Israel in "THE LATTER DAYS," which term, as we have so often shown, denotes the whole of this present Christian dispensation, Moses goes on in the words at the heading of this article, to call earnest attention to the two extraordinary miraculous interpositions on which the history of Old Testament Israel was founded; and which are thus held out before us as types and shadows of good things to come to Israel "IN THE LATTER DAYS;" and which should then in an equally or in a more striking manner constitute their special providential Distinctions or Identifications as the chosen people of God. Let us see then how beautifully and how exactly they apply in these latter days as well as in the initial manifestations of the nation.
(1) As before the exodus under Moses, we see Israel oppressed, serving other Gods, unmindful of, and as their refusal of Moses' first interference on their behalf shows, rejecting their divine Covenant, so we see our ancestors oppressed by Rome, paganised, and entirely oblivious of their Israelite origin, mission and destiny in any practical sense. And as verily and visibly in the one case, as well as that of our fathers in Egypt, is it literally and historically true, and we can in the light of history appeal to Scripturally Christianized Britain and Germany, and their kindred offshoot nations, "Or has any god tried to go and take for himself a nation from the midst of another nation by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Europe before your eyes?"
For let the least educated of my readers ask, what took place with regard to these identical nations, immediately after the coming of Christ, on purpose to effect the national regathering and redemption of Israel? Was not their independence from Rome ensured by Arminius' splendid and decisive victory A.D. 9? Did not the power of Rome decline continuously from this date, and that of these races increase until in A.D. 409 Rome had to withdraw from Britain, and in A.D. 410 Alaric destroyed Rome! In consequence of these providential movements did not the incoming and settlement of Saxons, Vikings, Normans, etc., follow in natural order and succession; Britain thus advancing to the fore of the progressive world in the West, and the cognate and kindred nations of the Continent consequently settling down in peaceful and undisturbed possession and enjoyment of their new inheritances in Northern Europe. Thus we see a Nation and a Company of Nations, originally migrating from Western Asia, as plainly as the Israelites under Moses did from Egypt, and thus clearly taken by God "from the midst of other nations." The parallelism is thus perfect and complete, although the geographical separation is on a much grander scale, and possesses what the other did not, the marks of permanence, finality, and indefinite expansion!
(2) We may with literal truth and certainty apply the other miraculous test of God's Israel to these New Covenant Nations, now witnessing for the Unity of God and the truth of the Bible against Popery and Heathenism. "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created humans on the earth, and from the one end of heaven to the other: Has there been anything as great as this thing, or has anything been heard like it? Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire as you have heard, and live?" (Deuteronomy 4:32-33) We were not indeed, as the apostle writing to the Christianized Hebrews reminds them, visited with the same overwhelming physical signs:
"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) but ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." (Hebrews 12:18-25)
Of infinitely transcending glory and mightier power and divine efficacy than the Sinaitic phenomena, or the Ten Commandments, though spoken by voice of thunder and written on tables of stone, were the Ministry, the Life and Sacrifice of Jesus; the Pentecostal visitation and Apostolic Mission to "all the House of Israel;" and the unfailing historical fruits and results of which now appear, with a distinguishing divine glory brighter far than that Shekinah which of old overshadowed the mercy seat, in the possession by these Protestant Christian Nations of God's own Presence in their midst by His Holy Spirit; of this consequent possession of the One Church preaching his pure word, rightly administering his Sacraments, and nourishing his elect saints; and in their, as yet, it is true, imperfect, but nevertheless potential establishment among themselves, and extension through the world of God's promised kingdom.
-- Robert Douglas, "The Two Witnesses," Christian-Israel and British-Ephraim Quarterly Review, July 1890. (Some modern Bible translations used in scriptural quotes).
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