Structure of Scripture
THE BOOKS OF THE PROPHETS
We are now to take up the books of the prophets, the third
division of the Old Testament, and that in which we are most of all brought
face to face with God Himself. The vail is of course not yet removed; yet as
more and more the condition of the people was discovered hopeless, and even as
judgment more and more, stroke upon stroke, fell upon them, to faith God began
to speak with increasing plainness. That the just shall live by faith was
witnessed by a prophet, and how full and plain is Isaiah as to the work and
glory of Christ! We are surely in the sanctuary in this third division, and the
holiness of the place makes itself apparent at every step.
Yet the prophets are little studied, little known; and when studied, it is more as predictions than to realize their spiritual meaning: thus, again, they have fallen with many into a disrepute sadly dishonouring to Him who speaks in them more undisguisedly then elsewhere in the Old Testament. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing," says Amos, "but He revealeth it unto His servants the prophets."
We shall not be able to do more than glance at some of their distinctive features at the present time; and for my own part, I realize more what hidden treasures there must be in them than can pretend to have found them. Still, even the briefest outline may invite research, and my purpose is now to show what may be without much difficulty shown, that here also we find that numerical structure which we have been tracing elsewhere.
But let us notice, before we take this up, what cannot but have interest for us as awakening our attention at least to the minute things of Scripture, that of the greater prophets the names singularly agree with the position necessitated by the times in which they wrote. Thus Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied in the period when the people were yet the people of the Lord, and Jah, or Jehovah, the covenant-title, is compounded with their names. The one means "The Salvation of Jehovah;" the other, "Jehovah shall establish." The two others prophesied after the captivity had begun, and their names are compounded with that of God simply. Ezekiel, "God shall strengthen;" and Daniel, "God my Judge."
There is indeed among the prophets of the captivity, one whose name is also compounded with Jehovah, - Zechariah, "Jehovah hath remembered;" but it seems to me that this is only an apparent contradiction: for Zechariah seems only exceptionally to address himself to the present, and to be wholly occupied with that which is to come; and perhaps his very name points out this. It is at least singular to find, when we open the gospel of Luke, another Zechariah, whose name, with that of his wife Elizabeth, ("The oath of God,') is clearly significant of covenant owned: "The Lord" - Jehovah - "hath remembered His holy covenant, the oath which He sware to our father Abraham." Is this merely a casual, or a designed coincidence? It was the utterance of one "filled with the Holy Ghost."
But to come to our subject: -
1. Isaiah -
is, there need be no doubt, the Genesis of the Prophets. Even that which may seem at first sight against it is in fact an evidence of it, namely, the exceeding largeness of the scope of his prophecy, which seems to concentrate all lines of truth and blessing. Thus he is called the "evangelical prophet," and the "prophet of salvation," and a glance at a concordance will show how much he uses the very words, "salvation," "Saviour," "redemption," "Redeemer." but so, with almost more appropriateness might he be called the prophet of sanctification, so full is he of "holiness," and of the "Holy One." But this is the fulness of one who is eminently the prophet of the divine counsels. "Counsel" and "purpose" are common words also with him: - "I have purposed;" "The Lord of Hosts hath purposed;" "My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure;" "The counsel of the Lord;" "Which is wonderful in counsel;" "Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth."
So His omniscience is dwelt upon: - "New things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them." "Who as I shall call and shall declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming and shall come, let them show them unto them." "Who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord?" "I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass." "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done."
He chooses and calls: - Israel are, again and again, "My elect;" "My chosen;" "Jacob, whom I have chosen;" "My servant, whom I have chosen;" "Israel, whom I have chosen." "I the Lord have called thee;" "I have called thee by thy name;" "Yea, I have called him;" "I have called him alone;" "When I call unto them, they stand up together."
The last passage is an assertion of creative power, and this too is again and again dwelt on: - "The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth;" "He that created the heavens;" "The Lord that created thee;" "The Creator of Israel;" "I make light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil;" "I create new heavens and a new earth;" "The Lord that made thee;" "The Lord that maketh all things."
Thus He is the one only God: "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him?" "To whom, then, will ye liken God?" "To whom, then, will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal?" "I the Lord, the First, and with the last;" "I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory will I not give to another;" "I am the First, and I am the Last, and be- side Me there is no God;" "Is there a God beside Me: yea, there is no God;" "that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth forth the earth by Myself."
These are only a part of the testimonies that might be collected, but surely there is no need to multiply them further. In others of the prophets no doubt some similar passages may be found, but Isaiah is the home of such expressions, and some are peculiar to it. Ezekiel uses the word "create" three times; Jeremiah, Amos, Malachi, once each; and these are all the occurrences in the Prophets. The making of the heavens and earth is ascribed to or claimed by God five times in Jeremiah; of the sea and the dry land, once in Jonah; of one woman for the man, once in Malachi; and Jeremiah and Hosea once speak of God as the "Maker." In Isaiah, this word alone is used in such connections fifteen times. "Forming" is ascribed to God similarly in Jeremiah, six times; in Amos, twice; in Zechariah, once. Isaiah uses it eighteen times.
The "First and the Last," or "with the last," is found three times in Isaiah, and never elsewhere.
I mention these things simply to meet the thought that probably others of the prophets might yield similar results if searched for them. It is not at all so. Examination only demonstrates the characteristic difference more and more. He is the prophet of the divine supremacy, counsel and sovereign will; his prophecies are the Genesis of the Prophets.
There is more difficulty in showing Jeremiah to be the Exodus; and indeed we must notice all through Scripture that every book has its individuality; no one is a mere repetition of another. And in these comparisons which we are making, we shall find a wide variety under every resemblance. It is said no two leaves can be found upon a tree which exactly resemble one another. And God is everywhere the same God.
The first thing we may notice in Jeremiah is the prominence of the person of the prophet, and how much in various ways he seems to typify the Lord. This is noticed by commentators generally, while unbelievers of various kinds have taken him as the rep- resentative of the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah's wondrous picture of the Messiah (Is. liii).
Undoubtedly, of all the prophets he is the man of sorrows, rejected as he is by his personal intimates and by the nation at large, while bearing in his soul their burdens, and feeling the broken bonds of relationship between Jehovah and His chosen nation. In this spirit he becomes the mediator between them, although here the contrast between type and Antitype cannot but come out. It is this intense sorrow which spreads itself over the brightness we should expect in a prophetic Exodus. The living affection of the Spirit of Christ manifests itself yet in this sorrow.
And there are passages in which the storm clears away, and the sun shines brightly out. "The Lord our Righteousness" is found twice in Jeremiah, and found no where else; although Isaiah has more than once a parallel thought. But the "new covenant" is the explicit announcement of Jeremiah only, and when we know that the "new testament" is but this "new covenant," and how Paul glories in being a "minister of the new covenant," then he does indeed become the prophet above all others of the present grace. The breaking of the legal tie between Jehovah and Israel, while it is the effect and judgment of their sins, is made, in the wondrous goodness of God, the occasion of setting aside the law "for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, for the law made nothing perfect." "For if that first covenant had been faultless," says the apostle, "then should no place have been sought for the second; for finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant. . . In that He saith, `a new covenant,' He hath made the first old."
How important, then, is this word by Jeremiah! The very ruin and break-up of existing things in the midst of which he moves brings him there where he can contemplate clearly the new grace that is to follow. No prophet, then, takes so fully, after all, the Exodus-place as he.
(2) Lamentations is of course the supplement to Jeremiah; and not a supplement of joy, but a strain of sorrow, as its title indicates, over the desolate city. I know no characteristics by which to separate it from the book of the prophet itself, except that it is not a prophecy but a lament.
But having in the outset of these lectures referred to its peculiar alphabetic structure, it may be now in place to show briefly how here also the structure corresponds with its inner meaning.
The five chapters we have seen to have each the alphabet running through them, except the fifth, which still retains, however, the twenty-two verses. The third chapter contains a triple alphabet and sixty-six verses.
The first chapter speaks of the solitariness and desolation of the city, gone into captivity, and owns it to be from God's hand in righteousness for their sin. It is God who has done this, and the soul of the people, personated by the prophet, humbles itself before Him.
In the second part, it is the breach of relationship especially: God is turned to be as an enemy to that which was His own; it is destruction more than desolation, and while the words of the prophets have been but false burdens, He has but fulfilled His own word.
In the third part, it is Jehovah Himself that is before the soul: the bitterness is in its being from Jehovah. Yet here the burdened one begins to realize what is in Jehovah for him, and Himself is still his portion. The sorrow is discipline, and it is good to bear the yoke; while out of it all at last comes revival and blessing and the overthrow of enemies. This chapter of Lam- entations we find to be (though the sanctuary be desolate) a sanctuary-psalm. Jehovah Himself is this.
The fourth chapter compares the former and the present estate, and sees the decline which has ended in ruin. Yet let not the enemy rejoice, for their punishment is at hand; while the punishment of His people will find an end yet with God.
Then the last chapter closes with their putting before Him the long catalogue of sorrow, owning once more the sin that had caused it; but the throne of God perpetually endures: and now - for it ought to be a question - "hast Thou utterly rejected us? wilt Thou be exceeding wroth against us?"
Ezekiel fills, indisputably, the third place among the prophets. It is all through the application of a text from Leviticus. The prophet is here at the same time a priest, and as a priest he is bidden to examine as to the leprosy of Israel. The proofs, alas! are multiplied, the case is plain: then the glory of God, insulted to His face by the most open idolatry and the most flagrant sins, leaves the city; the leper is put outside the camp.
But in God there is help, though not in man. It is His grace which has made provision for sin, when it has come to extremity and is out before Him: "If the leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague, from the head even to the feet, wherever the priest looketh; then the priest shall consider, and if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague." In Ezekiel, this is now fulfilled to Israel. The prophet does not close, as Jeremiah does, with sorrow, but sees the people brought back by the omnipotent grace of God, a new heart given them, and a new spirit put within them; the nation arises as from the dead; Judah and Ephraim are joined together; and now a new temple receives the glory of God, and from it issue the streams of blessing which revivify the sea of death itself.
Thus Ezekiel needs no vindication as the third book of the prophetic series. It is the book of the sanctuary; of the glory of God, of national resurrection; while throughout, Leviticus furnishes its text in the commandments as to leprosy and the cleansing of the leper.
Daniel completes the series of the greater prophets with the prophetic history of the times of the Gentiles. He thus fully answers to his numerical place, and to the books of the captivity in the historical series. It is the nations of the earth we have before us; with Israel dispersed among them, though watched over as beloved for the fathers' sakes, because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Daniel, however, only indicates their blessing as to come, never enters into it.
His great theme is the testing of the Gentile powers in the empire now committed to their hands. And here the failure is complete, and represented in every picture. The degeneration of material in the image shown to Nebuchadnezzar; the historical chapters, which portray the moral decline; the wild beasts of Daniel's vision, replacing with their fierce, wild, bestial life the form (but lifeless) of the man in that of the king; these things are features of his book scarcely to be overlooked. The closing chapters furnish specific details especially of the time of the end, to which all hastens; for prophecy only rests in the kingdom of God.
5. The Minor Prophets.
We come now to the Minor Prophets, whose prophecies we have seen were looked at by the Jews as forming but one book. We are not compelled to take their reasons for it, which are merely trivial, and necessitate another if the arrangement itself is to be justified. Let us see, then, if it be possible to find another.
As one book, they must find the fifth place in the prophets: the first four are plainly filled. The fifth place speaks of governmental ways: here at least seems a subject various enough for a twelvefold exposition. Then the number 12 itself speaks of government, and that it refers to such manifest government of God as was seen in the past in Israel, and as will be seen again in Millennial times, does not conflict with this; for this is at once what most of the prophets start from and all look forward to. At least we may take this, then, as a hint of their true place.
Furthermore, when we consider that even as minor prophets their scope is not the large and general one of the greater books, but that they take up and specialize some distinctive parts of God's one great whole of wisdom in the control of earthly events, what more accords with the character thus assigned them?
Let us look, then, at the books themselves.
And here, if they really stand together as a whole, it would seem that we might expect this number 12 to divide as other twelves do - into 4 x 3. Do they indeed divide so?
The question necessitates first another: Is there any difference of order possible? or are we to take them as they stand in our Bibles generally?
As to the last six, there is no difference; as to the first, in the Septuagint, the order is different. Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, instead of, as with us, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah.
Is there any account of this order to be given? The answer is, that as to the whole of the Minor Prophets, there is little satisfactory account, except that in both arrangements the order is so far chronological, that "the prophets of the pre-Assyrian and Assyrian times (Hosea to Nahum) are placed first, as being earliest; then follow those of the Chaldean period (Habakkuk and Zephaniah); and lastly, the series is closed by the three prophets after the captivity (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi), arranged in the order in which they appeared" (Keil).
Further than this, the order is not strictly chronological; which, if carried out, would, moreover, involve the mixing together of the greater and lesser books. The reasons given for the actual arrangement otherwise are merely trivial, while yet that Keil does little more than copy them from Delitzsch shows clearly that nothing better, however, is to be found. Who could accept such reasons as these from the latter: that Hosea is placed first, as the largest book in the collection; Joel follows because of the contrast of the "dewy, verdant, and flowery imagery with which the book of Hosea closes" and the "all-parching heat, and the all-consuming swarms of insects" in Joel? Amos then follows, as taking up one of the utterances with which Joel closes; then Obadiah, as an expansion of Amos ix. 12 - "That they may possess the remnant of Edom;" then Jonah, because Obadiah speaks of a "messenger sent among the nations," and Jonah was such a messenger!
Plainly, if this is the best account to be given, it is not a very satisfactory one. Can we find any thing better?
Beginning at the end, then, the last three prophets, as prophets of the captivity, seem to give clearly a fourth section of just the requisite number, while the second three in the Septuagint order seem all to speak of the Gentile enemy. The third three are in both arrangements the same. Let us take, then, the twelve in this order and division, and see what the numbers say.
(1) The first three will then be Hosea, Amos, and Micah. These are also generally the largest in scope, and, with the exception of Zechariah, the largest actually. This is still encouragement: let us look further, therefore.
Of the three, Hosea is the longest, if not also the widest, in scope. As the first of all, and so far introductory, the close is very significant as to the character of the whole series: "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the wicked shall fall therein."
Now it is quite according to the style of Scripture to give us in the introductory portion of any book the main thought of it. It is the goodness of God, who would thus guide His people at the outset into the meaning of what he has to say to them. Look especially at the epistles, and see how plain this is there. And thus to find in Hosea this Deuteronomic strain, and as the purport of his prophecy, cannot but give further satisfaction as to the place of these books.
The name of Hosea means "help, salvation." It was the original name of Israel's leader into the land of Caanan, which by the addition to it of the covenant- name of God became "Jehoshua." We are familiar with another prophet, with a name similar in meaning, and it is instructive to compare in this respect Isaiah, or even Joshua, and Hosea.
"Hosea" is "salvation;" "Isaiah," "Jehovah's salvation." I cannot but believe that the difference is indicated in their books. Isaiah is largely - I do not mean wholly - objective: it is an objective salvation with which he is mainly occupied, and this is what fills his book so with joy and sunshine. The person and work of Christ are dwelt on much. Hosea is the subjective side of the salvation, and what he dwells on is repentance and return to God. Independence and wandering of heart are to be judged, and the "valley of Achor the door of hope." Then where it was said unto them, "Ye are not My people," it shall be said unto them, "Ye are the sons of the living God." "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim; afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days."
This is a return to the principle of victory in Joshua, and it has just now struck me that we have had a direct reference to Joshua in the valley of Achor given as their hope. Independence judged and exchanged for true subjection, then the glorious throne to which they turn shall be full of power for them. And this is the first principle, surely, of divine government, - subjection to the throne as the way of blessing.
Amos, in his long exposure of the moral condition of the people, is very like Hosea, and like him addresses the whole of the divided kingdom; but he goes beyond this, and takes up briefly the nations occupying Israel's territory, judges them for their enmity and cruelty. Then Judah and Israel pass under review, and their sins are detailed. Finally, the tabernacle of David is to be raised up, the land inhabited, and their enemies dispossessed.
Amos is thus very kindred to Hosea, the same in character very much, but less strongly pronounced, and taking into account the enemies as Hosea does not. It thus seems to occupy its numerical place, and vindicate the Septuagint order. It has none of the characters of a third book, as I think, which the Hebrew arrangement makes it.
Micah comes in either order as a third book, but of the second section in our common Bibles, in the Septuagint, of the first. It takes in "Samaria and Jerusalem." Characteristically, it begins with "Let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple." Afterward, for the common corruption of rulers, priests, and prophets, the desolation of the city is shown with special mention of the "mountain of the Lord's house," in the last days to be exalted in the top of the mountains, and people to flow unto it.
The rejection of Christ is also seen, and His divine character; and Israel is given up until her time of travail is over, then the remnant of His brethren (now found only among Christians,) shall be numbered again among the children of Israel. Christ shall be their final "peace," when in the midst of the very evils which their rejection of Him has brought upon them.
All through, the pleading with them because of their sins is maintained much as in Hosea and Amos, but still more tenderly, and Israel's sorrows are seen more fully as the travail-pains out of which the blessing comes: they are more the needed discipline which is to be fruitful. Every where, I may say, there is more the being face to face with God; His character is manifested more. "Micah," "who is like Jehovah?" is surely significant. And Christ Himself is revealed in His proper glory, and as the true key (in His rejection,) of their present condition.
This, then, is the first section of these prophets.
(2) In the second three, the prophecies are much shorter, and less varied; though Joel, the representative of the former section, in the present, partakes most of its character. But in all three, the enemy now fills the scene in a manner very far from being the case in the former books. The purpose of each book is, however, very distinct, and proportionately they answer to their numerical place with equal plainness.
Joel thus speaks, under the type of what was, no doubt, an actual locust-judgement, of the northern enemy of the latter days. But he is but a rod in the hands of God for endless blessing to the people, and in turning to Him, calling on the name of the Lord, they are saved. Then the Lord recompenses their enemies, Egypt is a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of their violence against the children of Judah; and Jehovah dwelling in Zion, no foot of stranger desecrates her any more.
Obadiah now takes up Edom, and we learn that as the inveterate enemy of Israel, Edom is to be utterly destroyed, and the hand of Israel to inflict the judgment. The measure they meet is measured to them again, and by those also against whom has been their enmity. But Jonah has how different a story to recite. It is his own mainly, - in fact, of the people to whom he belongs. It is through Israel's salvation that blessing will come to the nations of the earth, as the eleventh of Romans plainly says; and thus she will become to them the prophet of repentance. Refusing her original call to this, and fleeing vainly from God, she is cast into the sea of the nations, yet preserved miraculously in the very jaws of destruction, and, when she has learned that "salvation is of the Lord," brought up as by resurrection. Thus she becomes the messenger to them, and the following history touchingly declares how she is brought to be in fellowship with the Lord's mercy in their case.
Thus the second series fittingly ends in the display of mercy both to Israel and the nations, while in this third prophet we have God made known both in the power of resurrection and the tender compassion which is His. The numerical seal is here most legibly impressed.
(3) The third series follows, the same now in both Greek and Hebrew, - Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zeph- aniah. In these we shall find that it is the character of God which is in question and made known by His judgment.
First, Nahum shows us, in the Assyrian, the pride of man which breaks out in enmity to God, and the prophecy opens with a sublime description of the holiness and goodness of God against whom man rebels. But His holiness must be against sin, or it would not be that, and the power of the throne must be maintained against rebellion. Thus the foreseen, fore- ordained judgment surely comes.
Secondly, Habakkuk shows us the character of God maintained against all that seems to be in contradiction to it. And here comes forth the beautiful word which is the text for the apostle afterward, that "the just shall live by faith." But how great the difficulties seem! The Assyrian is gone, but the Chaldean follows him, and the wicked devours one more righteous than himself. What then? Yet the woe is on the wicked, and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Faith's embrace becomes firmer, and the glorious apparition of God in His majesty and power rises before it; the soul breaks forth into a song: "Although the fig-tree blossom not, nor fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food; the flock be cut off from the fold, and no herd be in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Then, thirdly, Zephaniah shows us the sanctifying result. The day of the Lord is upon all the earth, a day of wrath because of man's sin; and amid the judgment of the nations, can Jerusalem possibly escape? No! and yet divine love will have its way also: "All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy;" but - "then I will turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord to serve Him with one consent. In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings wherein thou hast transgressed against Me; for then will I take out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of My holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."
Then the song again bursts forth, (well it may!) "The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more..... The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing."
Surely, if the strength of faith is exhibited in Habakkuk, the sanctifying power of God's judgments and the full display of His heart are brought out in Zephaniah.
(4) And now there remains, as a fourth section, the prophets of the captivity - Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They answer, as already said, to the three historical books of the same period. Ezra and Haggai speak mainly of the temple; Nehemiah and Zechariah, of the city; while in Esther and Malachi every thing seems once more ruined and gone, and yet God works out (as one may say, in silence,) His unrepenting purposes of blessing.
All make evident the utter failure, even among the returned captives, and the utter silence which follows after Malachi in Israel is the mouth stopped, as it were, even in intercession. But it does not stop without a fresh prediction of the blessing to come, for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Haggai has, as it were, the mark of the new section which it opens in the four messages of which it is made up. The first reproves the people for their leaving the building of the Lord's house to build their own. As soon as they give heed, Jehovah declares that He is with them. The second declares the shaking of the nations, and the coming of the Desire of all, and consequently the latter glory of the house to be greater than all before. The third reasons with them that holiness cannot sanctify what is evil; but evil, on the other hand, defiles what is holy. Their previous state had hindered blessing; now, they would find it. While the fourth announces once more the shaking of the heavens and the earth, but the abiding of Christ, (typified by Zerubbabel,) the seal of a new condition.
Zechariah, in the second place, speaks of the salvation and blessing of Jerusalem, God's grace in the putting away of sin being very distinctly stated. Afterward he shows the rejection of Christ and its consequences, and Antichrist's reception. Finally, the repentance of the people when Christ is seen in glory, and their deliverance in the final siege by His appearing for them.
Finally, in the third place, Malachi reproves the returned people for their iniquity in their holy things; prophesies incense to Jehovah's name and a pure offering every where, and the coming of the Lord to His temple when the sons of Levi shall be purified and the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be again acceptable. The Lord owns amid the corruption the remnant that fear Him, and assures them that by and by the distinction He makes between the righteous and the wicked shall be manifest; for the day comes that shall consume the wicked, and to those that fear Him the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. Elijah the prophet would be sent for spiritual restoration before that great and notable day, that the land might not be smitten with a curse.
Thus the Prophets end, and brief as the account has been, I believe your conviction will be my own, that the numerical seal is upon all, from first to last; more evident, of course, in certain books, and yet not obscurely upon all. One thing that is greatly assuring is, that the more fully a book is known, the more clearly we find the impress of it. We shall find this in the books which follow, therefore, clearer than ever, because the books are clearer. May the Lord guide us by His Spirit as we pursue our study on to the end of His precious and holy Word.
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