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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The house of Israel, and the house of Judah, had been great transgressors of the holy covenant from the foundation of the temple in the fourth year of Solomon to the sack of the city in the 19th of Nebuchadnezzar.

This was a period of 430 years, which was divided into two periods -- namely, one of forty years from the foundation of the temple to the apostasy of Rehoboam and Judah; the other, of three hundred and ninety from this apostasy to the destruction of the temple.

God determined that this long national transgression should be punished by as long a retribution.

He therefore gave Israel "a sign" of what was coming upon them.

This consisted in Ezekiel lying on his left side 390 days, and then upon his right 40 days more.

By this sign was represented the prostrate condition of Israel for 430 years.

The 430 years of transgression had not quite ended when the sign was appointed in the fifth of Jehoiachin's captivity.

The thing signified began to take effect in the sacking of Jerusalem.

Israel then began to "eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles"; so that the 430 years would end b.

161, according to my chronology.

These four centuries of punishment were a very calamitous period of Jewish history.

They endured a captivity in Babylon for 70 years: for several years more their times were "troublous"; they were vassals to the Persians till their dominion was overthrown by Alexander; afterwards, as we have seen, they were alternately subject to the king of the south and the king of the north, and their land became a field of battle for the hosts of these Powers, who defiled the temple, and at length converted it into a house for the worship of Jupiter.

But, a very few years before the 430 years were about to expire, Judas MaccabŠus commenced a war against Antiochus Epiphanes, which ended in the recovery of Jerusalem, the purification of the temple from the heathen worship, its re-dedication to God, and the erection of Judea into an independent kingdom under the Asmoneans, which continued until it was placed under Herod the Idumean by the Romans, about 39 years before Christ.

THE KING AND THE "STRANGE GOD" The 430 years of national retribution being ended, and with it the prophecy concerning Israel and the king of the northern horn of the Macedonian Goat, a new power is introduced as superseding that of the northern king.

This power appeared on the territory of the north, and absorbed its dominion into itself, so that it became all in all.

In the "vision of the evening and the morning" (Dan.

8), it is represented by a Little Horn standing upon another horn, and is styled "a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences".

Moses describes the same power in these words, saying to Israel, "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance; and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates".

"His power shall be mighty," said Gabriel, "but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

And through his policy, also, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand," or by his power: "and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in prospering shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand".

This is a general description of the power which should rule over the Assyro-Macedonian territory as well as over the Greco-Egyptian, when "their kingdom" should come to an end for a time, that is, until their revival "in the time of the end".

I am particularly desirous that this part of the prophecy should be understood.

Perhaps what I mean may be better comprehended by the following homely illustration.