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these Scriptures to intend the last judgement: but we must openly oppose that sense for the following reasons. First, it is said at the opening of that book, "Many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame, &c :" but at the last judgement all shall rise. Second, it is said, that the godly (called wise, &c.) shall awake, though to life, yet to great troubles ; the time of trouble continuing from their awaking, to the time of their blessedness, viz. forty-five years. So that it shall be a time of great trial " many thereby being tried, purified, and made white; the wicked on the contrary doing wickedly.” But the godly do not rise at the last judgement to troubles, or trials. Third, the question is asked (verse 6.) “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders ?” Observe carefully, “How long shall it be to the END;” not, How long to the beginning. And how long to the end of these wonders ; (meaning those before mentioned ;) not, how long to the end of the resurrection. Had the resurrection been meant, it would have been more proper to have inquired of its beginning, not its ending. Fourth, it is said (verse 7) that these things were to be finished, “ when the Lord shall have accomplished to scatter the holy people.” But the accomplishing the scattering of the holy people, the Jews, (which is by conversion of them, and replacing them in their own country, as the prophets all along have foretold,) is generally confessed to precede the resurrection and day of judgement.
1. These times are said to be troublesome times. (v. 1.) First, because the great warlike oppositions that the enemy shall then make against them shall seem but cold entertainment to new converts. For their arch-enemy the Turk is then in a great fury, contending to hold his tyrannical empire over them. Secondly, because of the length of these troubles, which will be forty-five years (as before said :) so that by reason of both the greatness and continuance of these troubles, many shall fall off from that cause to which at first they were awakened, and so they rise to their “shame and contempt" before men; not (as yet) in hell torment. (v. 2.)
2. The book mentioned (v. 1) in which, "all they were written, and they only, that should be delivered," must be also distinguished. For there are divers books mentioned in Scripture; which cannot all be the same book, because in Rev. xx, 12, there is mention of “ books,” in the plural, and of “ another book.” Therefore we must at least distinguish a two-fold Book of Life. First, there is the book of God the Father's eternal election, called in Phil. iv, 3," the Book of Life,” the writing in which is unchangeable.a Secondly, there is the Lamb's Book of Life, touching things in time, viz. of external vocation, to the embracing the Gospel, and a subjection to the sceptre and kingdom of Christ, as in Rev. xxi, 27. The antithesis of the words in this place distinguishes between them that are written in the Lamb's Book, and those that defile themselves, and make or do abominations or lies; and therefore intimates, that the former, being free from outward evil conversation, are in all appearance and likelihood holy; and if any such fall off from this fair show of holiness, and degenerate into an evil conversation, they are blotted out of the Lamb's Book.b Suitable to this it is said in Rev. xxii, 19, “ If any man shall take away from the words " of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out " of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things “ which are written in this Book." And thus the generality of the Jews at present are blotted out of the Lamb's Book, whilst fallen off from the profession of true godliness; and those likewise are blotted out, named in the second verse of Daniel xii, that at first shall arise in outward profession for the common cause, and at last fall off to their everlasting shame. But those that are in the book of election can never totally and finally fall away: their effectual regeneration being once really begun, can never utterly be extinguished. Once in Christ, and ever in Christ.
* ov. 11, 12.
Their “ awaking out of their sleep in the dust” (v. 2) signifies no more, as I conceive, than the recovery of the Jews from their dispersed and despised condition among all nations, wherein they seem to lie politically dead: just as afflictions are called death, and a poor man, because distressed and despised, is also called a dead man ; the rich being contrasted with such, as a living man.d And again the restoration of the Jews from captivities under men, is compared to the “ making dead bones to live again,”e and their outward call thereunto, is likened to a resurrection.f
a 2 Tim. ii, 19.
b Psalm lxix, 21-29. c Rom. viii, 36 ; 2 Cor. iv, 10 11;
and vi, 9. d Eccles, vi, 8.
Further, it is said many, not all, shall awake ; and of them that awake, some only awake to everlasting life ; and the other to everlasting shame : the meaning whereof must needs be that all the native or natural Jews shall not be awakened to the general call of the main body of them to their restoration ; but some there shall be even of them, either so naturalized to heathenism, or so diabolized to turcism, or so superstitionized to papism, or so indifferent from infidelity, that they shall slight their call ; insomuch that they shall still sleep in the dust of their earthly miserable condition, till the common deluge of destruction on Christ's enemies sweeps them away, together with those to whom they adhered. And again, of the main body of them that are awakened, even some of them, embracing true religion and the cause of Christ with a false heart, and flagging in the pursuance thereof, by reason of the troubles then present, shall be cast off by the rest of the Church, and so end in temporal, and at last eternal shame. On the other hand, the generality of the rest of them that were outwardly called (attending upon that outward call, till they were inwardly effectually called, and so persevering in the faith and cause of Christ,) shall attain to a threefold life: first, the life of honorable liberty, never more to be vassalized to other nations ; secondly, the life of a most glorious religious church state, never more to be scattered; thirdly, at the end of their perseverance, to the period of the thousand years, or life of eternal glory.
So that the resurrection (as some would call it) here meant, is not to be understood literally: i.e. it is not a physical resurrection of deceased bodies out of their graves; but a metaphorical resurrection of the living ; first, political, of their persons from bondage ; and then spiritual, of their souls out of the state of unbelief. The physical resurrection of the dead elect Jews is not till that resurrection of all believers, which is at the end of the forty-five years mentioned verses 11, 12, and at the beginning of the thousand years; just as the resurrection of the wicked is not till the end of the thousand years. Thus as the said thousand years of the restitution of all things is bounded with two physical resurrections ; so this forty-five years of preparation to that restitution is bounded with two resurrections, the first metaphorical, the second physical.
e Ezek. xxxvii.
f Rom. xi, 15.
Finally, the amplification of the Jews' state in that 45 years is held forth in the third verse, in two distinctions : first, of the glory of them that are then effectually brought in, secondly, of their graces. 1. The distinction of their glory is, that they shall "shine as the brightness of the firmament;" and " as the stars for ever.” The meaning whereof is this : that whereas the greatest glory of the elect is reserved to the ultimate day of judgement, when they all shall “ shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father ;"yet, in the meanwhile, at this particular metaphorical resurrection, the effectually called shall have great glory proportionably to their relations. They that are private converts, called here “ wise,” shall have much glory; but they that are instrumentally public converts, " turning many to righteousness,” shall have more. 2. The distinction of their graces is this : the people's graces are expressed by the name of wisdom, rather than by naming any other grace, because blindness of mind and a foolish prejudice in heart was chiefly the sin that caused them to reject Christ and his Gospel. The teachers' gifts are said to be a bringing many to justification, (the original is '27739739,) because formerly they had chiefly beguiled the people in the point of justification, crying up the works of the law as their righteousness, and did not teach Christ the true righteousness. There might be other reasons of this compellation of their graces : for the people's graces may be named wisdom, because all grace enters by the beams of knowledge, though all knowledge is not accompanied with grace; and the teachers' gifts may be styled " bringing many to justification,” because justification is the door to let in sanctification. Till we are united to Christ for righteousness, there is no flowing forth of his fulness for holiness.
8 Matt. xiii, 43.
h Acts xxviii, 27 ; Rom. xi, 25. I Cor. i.
32 ; Acts xv, 1.
i Rom. ix,
Chapter i, 10, 11.
“Yet (or for all that, the number of the children of Israel shall “ be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor num
bered ; and it shall come to pass, that instead of that which was " said unto them,* Ye are not my people, it shall be said unto " them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children “ of Judah, and the children of Israel be gathered together, and "appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the “ land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”
Vatablus doth well hit the nail on the head, when he saith upon this place, "The prophets are wont, after they have threat
ened, afterwards to subjoin consolation : therefore this text ought to be understood of believing Israel, the true sons of
Abraham. As if the Prophet should say, this that I spake be"fore, in way of threatening, ought to be understood of those " that shall remain in unbelief: for otherwise, the number of “ the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, &c. For
all the Israelites shall not perish : yea, the number of the sons " or children of the Church shall be exceeding great."
But let us wind ourselves down a little deeper into the sense of the text, that we may
thence the golden ore of comfortable inferences. Israel must at least signify the ten tribes : but at verse 11 our Prophet names Israel and Judah distinctly, which must include the whole twelve. Again, in the fourth verse, he sets forth the kingdom of Israel by Jehu their king, and threatens his house because he poured out the blood of the family of Ahab in Jezreel, the royal city, where the kings of Israel dwelt. The text therefore gives us to understand, that the number of the twelve tribes that are to come in, to make up the glorious Church in the last times, must not be a small gleaning only, but a most mighty multitude, even as the sand of the sea, that cannot be measured or numbered !
* See the margin.